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Putin invites UK experts to analyse blackbox of downed plane

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Moscow: Russia today invited British experts to help analyse the black box of a warplane downed by Turkey, as President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed to cooperate over Syria.

Britain offered its assistance to Russia two weeks after Turkey downed a Russian warplane in Syria, leading to a severe crisis in ties with Moscow.

Today, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country was ready to work with Moscow to prevent a repeat of the November 24 incident but also accused Moscow of pursuing a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” in Syria.

“Vladimir Putin invited British specialists to take part in decoding flight data recorders of the downed Su-24,” the Kremlin said after the phone talks with Cameron.

Cameron’s office said for its part that the prime minister would “consider President Putin’s request to send British experts to assist the investigation.”

A Cameron spokesman told reporters earlier in the day: “We’re always happy to help and assist other countries in issues of security.”

Russia has recovered the black box recording flight data from the fighter jet and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu showed the orange-painted box to Putin during a Kremlin meeting on yesterday evening.

Putin said at the Kremlin meeting that it should be analysed with the involvement of foreign experts to determine the plane’s flight path and position, points on which Moscow and Ankara furiously disagree.

Cameron, whose country last week launched its own bombing campaign in Syria, expressed condolences over the downing, the Kremlin said in a statement.

“It has been noted that Russia and Britain have similar approaches regarding the threat from ISIL and other terrorist groups operating in the region,” the Kremlin said, referring to the Islamic State (IS) group.

The two leaders also discussed ramping up cooperation “in this context”, the statement said without elaborating.

Cameron’s office struck a similar note, saying Cameron called Putin to update him on Britain’s Syria campaign.

“The prime minister and president agreed that the UK and Russia should work together, with other international partners, to tackle Daesh and the threat it poses, and on the political process to bring peace to Syria,” it said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

Russia has been pushing for establishing a broad anti-IS coalition since launching its controversial bombing campaign in Syria in September.