This week Conservative MP for Amersham and Chesham, Cheryl Gillan, writes to Bucks Free Press readers...

As one of the members of the parliamentary group on Russia, I and other MPs had a timely lunch and meeting with the Russian Ambassador recently. Since that meeting took place, the latest diplomatic efforts to agree a peace deal in Syria have broken down.

This makes it all the more important to keep open communications, to try and get a resolution to this terrible conflict. Informal meetings between parliamentarians and diplomats are a way of building understanding and for messages to be conveyed to Russia’s leadership.

What is happening in Syria is a global issue which has consequences for everyone. In the last few days a global conference has taken place, co-hosted in London by Britain, Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the United Nations, to secure funding to help those people forced to become refugees across the region.

Our government is accepting more refugees, but we must also target help within the region, with food aid, clean water, shelter and education for the children whose lives have been devastated.

Russia’s somewhat problematic involvement in the Syrian conflict has raised many issues, including the use of air strikes. It is not only daesh targets which have been hit and if people who are non-combatants are in danger, whatever the cause, then with their lives and homes under threat they too may be forced to flee.

There are many dimensions to the current situation with Russia including the recent judicial enquiry into the murder of Litvinenko, their attitude towards NATO and questions about Russia’s territorial activities which have affected the Crimea, Ukraine and Moldova.

Another factor is the economic ties between the UK and Russia, made by investors in both countries. Russia’s gas reserves mean it is a major exporter but of course the price has been affected by the fall in oil prices across the globe.

We still have a long way to go but when it comes to Syria and the other areas that require resolution, no matter what actions we need to take we also need to keep talking in order to find a sustainable solution.