Queen moves to heal rift with Russia

The Queen has attempted to help heal the rift with Russia over Iraq.

At a Buckingham Palace state banquet in honour of President Vladimir Putin, she said Britain and Russia were now able to work together with Iraq under the banner of the United Nations.

"Mr President, it is I believe a sign of genuine friendship that we are able to have disagreements but remain firm partners," the Queen said.

"It is no secret that there were significant differences between our two countries earlier this year on how best to handle Iraq.

"But we are now able to look forward together, firmly in agreement on the route we have decided in the United Nations.

"We know that our long-term partnership is of profound importance to both of us."

The Queen told her VIP Russian guest: "My message to you, Mr President, is therefore one of admiration, respect and support."

The white-tie banquet came at the end of the opening day of the first state visit by a Russian leader since 1874 when Tsar Alexander II came to Britain.

And President Putin, formerly head of the KGB, was given a ceremonial welcome fit for a tsar.

Security around the Royal Family was tight following the weekend scare at Windsor Castle when a self-styled "comedy terrorist" breached police lines to gatecrash Prince William's 21st birthday party.

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