The parties discussed prospects of bilateral cooperation in trade, economic and other spheres. Robin Cook welcomed Russia’s efforts to create an attractive investment climate. He said that they had evoked much interest in the United Kingdom. At present, more than 400 British companies are working in Russia, and British investment exceeds 13% of the total foreign capital in Russia. During the meeting, the sides pointed to the need to overcome negative trends in bilateral trade.
Mr Putin and Mr Cook also discussed urgent international issues and regional security problems. In this context, they talked about countering international terrorism. Mr Putin spoke at length about the situation in the North Caucasus, and gave a detailed account of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya. He observed that currently it was moving to a political plane. Mr Putin confirmed that Russia was open for cooperation with international bodies, in particular, regarding humanitarian relief to civilians.
Mr Cook forwarded to Mr Putin an invitation from British Prime Minister Tony Blair to pay an official visit to the UK.