John Key won't raise Pussy Riot with Putin

By Political Editor Duncan Garner in Vladivostok

Prime Minister John Key won't be raising the issue of Pussy Riot when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin tonight.

The trio from the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred by a Moscow court last month after belting out a profanity-laced anti Putin song on the altar of Moscow's main cathedral in February.

They were sentenced to two years in prison but Russia's human rights ombudsman says the sentences are excessive.

Mr Key says he has just 30 minutes with Mr Putin tonight and he'd rather talk about the free trade agreement New Zealand is negotiating with Russia and Russia's position of supporting the Syrian Government.

"I have just thirty minutes so we have a lot to talk about – it's unlikely we will get to talk about Pussy Riot," says Mr Key.

John Key also says he doesn't understand Russia's support of the Syrian Government given the killings that are occurring.

Russia promised to veto any sanctions against the Syrian Government put before the UN Security Council and promoted by Western countries.

Mr Key says he'd rather talk trade and Syria than focus on Pussy Riot. "We just won't get the time," he says.

Mr Key also says there is a lack of momentum around Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement of 11 countries at this APEC because of the absence of US President Barack Obama.

There will be no formal meeting or photo opportunity given to the 11 countries this weekend because of Mr Obama's absence.

The TPP faces new pressure as China and Russia look to kick-start trade talks with other countries in the region.

Both China and Russia have refused to join the American led TPP.

Mr Key says by tonight he will also have "a pretty good steer" from Putin over whether Russia is keen to sign a free trade agreement with New Zealanad. Mr Key said yesterday New Zealand wants a deal but it's now up to Putin to decide and to "show leadership".

3 News

source: newshub archive