Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson exchanged more smiles than barbs on the first visit by a foreign minister from London in five years.
Calling himself a “committed Russophile”, Boris said: “… I’m certain that I’m the first foreign secretary in the history of my office to be called Boris and probably quite likely to be the last for some time.”
Russian Television reported that he then tried to show off some Russian speaking skills and talked about his “Russian ancestors” during their press conference.
He described relations between Britain and Russia as a very old diplomatic relationship dating back to Ivan the Terrible.
Boris said he showed how much trust he has in Russia by “handing his hat and coat and gloves to Sergei Lavrov, safe in the knowledge he would look after it.”
A laughing Lavrov responded by saying he had found “nothing” in Boris Johnson’s pockets.
When Johnson tried to intervene while the two clashed over Russia’s alleged meddling in Brexit vote, Lavrov said Boris was just trying to protect his reputation in the media to which Boris replied that he was more concerned about the reputation of Lavrov.
The two then exchanged smiles.
Johnson assured journalists that the relations between him and Lavrov are considerably better than those between Stalin and Churchill.
“Well, there’s something to build on, “he added. with a chuckle.
The two leaders gave an impression to media that Moscow and London are willing to bury their differences and cooperate in areas where they can to build a better future.
Earlier, after their talks, Lavrov said Moscow and London are ready to increase cooperation on all issues on the UN Security Council’s agenda, including the North Korea crisis.
“We have discussed the situation on the Korean Peninsula, particularly in the light of the United Nations Security Council debates,” Lavrov said. “In general, we have agreed that Russia and the United Kingdom, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, should increase cooperation on all the issues included in the agenda of this key body,” he said, Tass reported.