June 26, 2019 / 3:23 PM / 6 months ago

UK PM May to meet Putin to say Britain open to a different relationship: spokesman

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street, in London, Britain June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May will meet President Vladimir Putin on Friday to deliver a message that Britain is open to a different relationship with Russia if it stops activities that undermine international security, her spokesman said.

The meeting at this week’s G20 summit in Japan does not represent a normalization of relations, the spokesman told reporters.

“The prime minister’s position on Salisbury and Russia’s wider pattern of malign behavior is well-known. As she has said, we remain open to a different relationship but that can only happen if Russia desists from activity that undermines international treaties and our collective security,” the spokesman said.

“This meeting is an important opportunity to deliver this message leader-to-leader to ensure the UK’s position is fully understood ... This meeting does not represent a normalization of relations.”

Britain’s relations with Russia fell to a post-Cold War low after the poisoning of a former double agent and his daughter with a nerve agent in Salisbury, southern England last year. Britain blamed Russia, which denied any involvement.

Reporting By Elizabeth Piper. Writing by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison

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