Cameron takes Putin to watch Olympic judo

Last Updated: Friday, August 3, 2012 - 00:48

London: They`ve held talks, now it`s ending in a fight.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin showed up today at the Olympic judo competition, after they had discussions on Syria and trade.

The two leaders, who have squared off over the world`s response to the violence in Syria, traveled in separate cars to see judo contests taking place at the ExCel Centre in east London.

It`s not a stretch to describe Putin -- an honorary president of the International Judo Federation -- as the world`s best-known judo fan. Putin has been a judo competitor since his childhood, eventually gaining the rank of black belt.

"I am delighted to be taking the president to the judo, but note that we will be spectators and not participants," Cameron joked, as the men left their talks at London`s Downing Street.

Military officers and uniformed police lined either side of the VIP entrances to the judo arena as they arrived and photographers turned their backs to the competition to make sure to grab the moment.

In a 45-minute meeting earlier at Cameron`s Downing Street residence, the British leader pushed Putin over Russia`s refusal to back a tough new UN resolution that tries to halt the violence in Syria between Assad`s regime and anti-government rebels. Britain called the decision by Russia and China to veto a resolution two weeks ago "inexcusable and indefensible."

While no breakthroughs had been expected, Putin said the two leaders had noted the fact "there are some things that we see eye-to-eye on" over Syria.
"We agreed to continue working to find a viable solution," Putin said, speaking through a translator.

Cameron said despite the differences both nations wanted to see an end to the bloodshed in Syria. "We both want to see end to that conflict and a stable Syria," he said.

Putin also had praise for London`s opening ceremony, which he described as "unforgettable."

Relations between Britain and Russia soured over the 2006 poisoning death of dissident ex-Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko in London. Litvinenko made a deathbed statement accusing Putin of authorising his killing. Russia has refused repeated British requests for the extradition of the chief suspect in the case, ex-KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi, who denies any involvement.

The visit comes as leading British musicians joined an international outcry over the treatment of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, whose members were jailed following a protest in Moscow`s main cathedral.

PTI



First Published: Friday, August 3, 2012 - 00:48

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