Warning over Mid East revolt calls


British Foreign Secretary William Hague, right, greets Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov (AP)

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov issued a sharp warning to the West over calls for the spread of democracy in the Middle East in the wake of the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

Following talks in London with Foreign Secretary William Hague, Mr Lavrov said that calls for revolution in the region were “counter-productive”.

He also hit out at the United States and Europe for imposing further sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme without wider international backing.

He warned that Russia would not support further measures which created “social problems” for the Iranian population.

Mr Lavrov’s visit had been billed as an attempt to rebuild relations between Britain and Russia, which have been problematic since the murder in London of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

At their joint news conference, Mr Hague said they were working to achieve a “patient, steady improvement” in relations – including an agreement to modernise the hotline between No 10 and the Kremlin.

He acknowledged that “serious disagreements” remained between them.

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