British Embassy Calls Brenton's Exit 'Normal'

British Ambassador Anthony Brenton will leave his post in September, when his four-year assignment is set to end, a British Embassy spokesman said Wednesday.

"Normal procedures dictate that when his term expires he will leave his post," the spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity.

It was unclear who might replace Brenton. "The identity will be announced several days before the handover," the spokesman said.

The spokesman rejected suggestions made by a Foreign Ministry source, cited by Interfax, that the ambassador's departure "should be seen in the context of the readiness of the British side to normalize Russian-British relations."

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is thought to be seeking improved bilateral relations, which have been strained during Brenton's tenure by spats over the poisoning murder of former Federal Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko and the legal status of the British Council, among other issues.

In an interview published Monday in the Financial Times, President-elect Dimitry Medvedev, who is to take office in May, said Russia "can restore the entire volume of full bilateral cooperation" between the two countries and that the current situation is "not a tragedy."