March 13, 2020 / 1:53 PM / a month ago

Britain backs Putin idea of five-way summit of world powers - UK embassy

FILE PHOTO: Russia's President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the lower house of parliament to consider constitutional changes in Moscow, Russia March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Britain said on Friday it supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s idea to hold a summit between the leaders of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to discuss international peace and security measures.

Britain is the last country to give its assent after Putin in January proposed that the leaders of Russia, China, the United States, France and Britain meet. [ ]

France and China have publicly voiced their approval for the summit, while a senior U.S. administration official said in February that President Donald Trump was willing to meet and discuss arms control.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Britain had expressed an interest in Putin’s idea and that the best venue for the meeting could be the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, scheduled for Sept. 15-30 in New York.

The British Embassy in Moscow confirmed Britain’s support for the encounter.

“Britain on the whole supports the idea of a meeting between the heads of state of the U.N. Security Council’s permanent members, with the aim of discussing questions of international peace and security,” it said in a social media posting.

“We are in contact with the Russian government to discuss further details on this proposal.”

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had received a letter from the Russian side which would be formally answered “in due course.”

Peskov said the proposed meeting was a long way off and that talk of coronavirus forcing changes were premature.

Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper in London, Editing by Catherine Evans and Jon Boyle

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