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Olympics: Russia, Britain renew intelligence cooperation

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday agreed to renew cooperation by their special services for the Sochi Olympics next year, after a freeze of over half a decade.

Russia and Britain froze intelligence cooperation in the wake of the 2006 killing of Russian dissident and ex-security agent Alexander Litvinenko, which London blamed on a former Russian spy turned lawmaker.

"Today I have agreed with President Putin that there should be limited cooperation between our security services for the Sochi Olympics," Cameron told reporters after meeting Putin, saying both sides wanted a "safe and secure games".

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was happy with the decision to renew intelligence cooperation for the Sochi winter games, the biggest sporting event post-Soviet Russia has ever held.

"The cooperation was frozen on the initiative of the British side," Russian news agencies quoted Peskov as saying.

"We are happy to note the readiness to cooperate in the interest of ensuring a safe and peaceful games in Sochi," he added.

There were no further details on the nature of the cooperation or if it could broaden into a full renewal of joint work.

After their meeting at Putin's summer vacation residence in the Black Sea resort, the Russian strongman took his guest on a helicopter tour of the the Olympic alpine facilities above Sochi.

Former spy Andrei Lugovoi was named by British police as the chief suspect in Litvinenko's 2006 murder after apparently drinking tea laced by polonium. But Russia has refused to extradite him in a row that has strained ties.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130511/olympics-russia-britain-renew-intelligence-cooperation