British PM Cameron And Russian President Putin Renew Security Ties Ahead Of Sochi
British PM David Cameron said on Friday that "security services will renew cooperation with their Russian counterparts for the first time since London suspended such ties" after the '06 killing of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, according to the MOSCOW TIMES. In a move that suggests relations between the two countries are slowly improving, Cameron said that "Britain was ready to temporarily restore such ties to help Russia ensure that next year's Sochi Winter Olympics pass off safely." After meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort in southern Russia where the games will be held, Cameron said, "We both want the Sochi Games to be safe and secure. So today I have agreed with President Putin that there should be limited cooperation between our security services for the Sochi Olympics" (MOSCOW TIMES, 5/12).
IMPROVING RELATIONS: In London, Ben Hoyle wrote internal security, Syria and billions of pounds in potential World Cup and Olympic contracts for British firms "were at the heart of the talks in Sochi." Britain and Russia's status as hosts of consecutive Summer and Winter Olympic Games "appears to have helped." Cameron: "It looks very promising here. It seems like everything is in place." Sochi residents feel differently, although Cameron's whirlwind itinerary has kept him away from the resort itself, "now a giant building site criss-crossed by constant traffic jams." The budget for the Games has passed £32B ($49B), "almost four times the cost of the London Olympics, and there have been widespread allegations of corruption." After the meeting, the two men traveled "by helicopter and limousine motorcade to the main Olympic Stadium in the coastal resort of Adler, 25km south of Sochi." It is being built by the British architectural firm Populous, "which was responsible for the London 2012 Olympic Stadium and the overall design of the London Games." Trade officials travelling with Cameron "are hoping to secure further contracts before sporting events due to be held in the country." UK Trade and Investment have estimated that British companies could win contracts worth up to £2B ($3B) "for the World Cup alone" (LONDON TIMES, 5/11).