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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

British Lawmakers Call for a Dialogue With Moscow

LONDON -- British lawmakers in a report Sunday urged the government to meet with their Russian counterparts to thrash out thorny judicial issues that have chilled ties between the two nations.

Relations between the two countries have worsened over unsuccessful British attempts to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, charged in the poisoning death of former Federal Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko in London, and over a string of snubbed Kremlin requests to extradite emigres.

Russia has refused to hand over Lugovoi, citing laws which forbid citizens from being extradited, and has also been vexed over decisions by British judges to block requests to extradite self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky, Chechen rebel leader Akhmed Zakayev and executives from Yukos.

Lawmakers on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs committee said bids to extradite 13 individuals from Britain to Russia had been rejected in the courts since 2001.

"The deadlock surrounding bilateral extradition issues is conducive neither to improving the UK-Russia bilateral relationship nor to advancing the interests of justice," the committee's report said.

Officials should meet Moscow counterparts to renegotiate extradition arrangements to satisfy British laws and the Russian Constitution, the panel said.

President Vladimir Putin initially sought a close relationship with Britain to exploit London's access to the White House, Roy Allison, of the London School of Economics told the committee.

But Moscow, increasingly antagonistic toward Washington, now worries that Britain is too closely aligned to the U.S. and has a diminishing influence over its ally, the committee report said.

"Moscow sees Britain as very close to the U.S. yet of little use as a source of influence on Washington," Alex Pravda, a Russian expert at Oxford University, told the panel in testimony.