EEV: The words are flying, and verification of statement are getting more and more difficult. Still though loads of Drama 😉
Russia mocks Britain, the little island
By James Kirkup, St Petersburg
9:15PM BST 05 Sep 2013
The Russian official is also said to have joked about Russian “oligarchs” buying up large parts of Chelsea and other upmarket London districts.
The remarks, which were reported by the BBC, could not be verified, but were apparently accepted as genuine by the Prime Minister in a BBC interview.
In the interview, Mr Cameron angrily rejected the Russian dismissal of British influence. “I don’t accept that for a moment,” he said, insisting that Britain remained a power in world affairs.
“Britain will be one of the leaders in bringing forward plans for a peace process for Syria,” he said. “Britain will be leading the argument across the globe for continuing to respond strongly on chemical weapons.”
A No 10 source expressed irritation at the Russian comments.
“As host of guests from the world’s leading countries, I’m sure the Russians will want to clarify these reported remarks, particularly at a G20 where it’s a very British agenda on trade and tax.”
George Osborne said Britain was “setting the agenda” on for Syria.
“They have denied using that language, but I’ll make a broader point which is on many of the issues here, for example the humanitarian response to what’s happening in Syria, the economic agenda, the tax agenda, I would say Britain, albeit only one of 20 nations attending, is setting the agenda,” he told the BBC this morning.
“Britain is today leading efforts to step up then humanitarian situation in Syria, and the tragedy of two million people leaving that country, fleeing for their lives,” he added.
Mr Osborne added those MPs who voted against military action in Syria “have to account for that”.
Despite Mr Cameron’s defence of Britain, the Russian jibe follows concerns among Tory MPs that the failure to follow through on promises of action in Syria has left the country diminished.
The Prime Minister had helped push Barack Obama towards US intervention in Syria. The US president and Mr Cameron are not holding formal meetings in St Petersburg, leading to speculation that their relationship is strained.