Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shakes hands with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during a news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia December 22, 2017. (REUTERS PHOTO)
MOSCOW, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Friday said both London and Moscow were ready to take steps to restore mutual trust in spite of their existing differences.
"There are difficulties in relations between our two countries, but there are many issues we can work on together and there is every reason to build trust now," Johnson said at a press conference after talks with Lavrov, speaking through an interpreter.
"Problems have accumulated and their burden pulls us backwards, although both parties want to find ways to overcome them," Lavrov said.
The Russian minister said both sides realize that adding constructiveness to their relations will correspond to their national interests, including cooperation in the international arena.
Johnson agreed that Moscow and London could find opportunities for cooperation on issues where they had serious common interests.
These include saving the nuclear deal with Iran, stopping the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) from producing and testing nuclear weapons, as well as ensuring peace in Syria.
"Maybe we do not have the same position on North Korea (DPRK), but our goal is one and the same, and that is to ensure peace and security on the peninsula, as well as preserve the non-nuclear status of the region," Johnson said.
Speaking about differences, he said Britain maintained that Russia had violated Ukraine's sovereignty when it annexed Crimea in 2014, but hoped a solution to the problem could be found.
Lavrov disagreed, stating Moscow's position that Crimea was incorporated into Russia following a democratic referendum.
In response to Johnson's remark that Russia had unsuccessfully interfered in the 2016 referendum on Brexit, Lavrov said since no facts or evidence had been presented to confirm the allegation, it was unreasonable to talk about it for the moment.