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Medvedev, Cameron agree to help Russia-Britain ties: Kremlin

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has spoken by telephone to Britain’s new Prime Minister David Cameron and agreed to work on improving ties between Moscow and London, the Kremlin said Saturday.

“Dmitry Medvedev congratulated David Cameron with his appointment to the post of prime minister and wished him success in this high position,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

“Both sides expressed readiness to work actively to strengthen Russian-British relations,” it added.

Cameron took office on Tuesday as head of a power-sharing coalition between his Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, after elections in which voters rejected his Labour Party predecessor Gordon Brown.

Moscow hopes the new government in Britain will facilitate the “resolution of problems that have built up in recent years,” a Russian foreign ministry source told the Interfax news agency after Cameron took office.

Russia’s relations with Britain have been chilly since the mysterious 2006 poisoning death in London of Alexander Litvinenko, an outspoken Kremlin critic and former officer of Russia’s FSB security service.

In 2007, Britain accused former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi of committing the crime, but Russia refused to extradite Lugovoi and since then he has been elected to the Russian parliament.

Moscow is also angry over Britain’s refusal to hand over Russian citizens convicted by its courts who have taken refuge in London, such as businessman Boris Berezovsky.