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Roundup: Russia to expel 4 British diplomats
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08:05, July 20, 2007

 Related News
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Russia will expel four British diplomats amid the recent row on a spy-poisoning case, news agencies cited a spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry as saying on Thursday.

"The British ambassador has received a note declaring four employees of the British Embassy persona non-grata, and saying they must leave Moscow within ten days," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin was quoted as saying.

Kamynin said Russia will also stop issuing visas to British officials and halt counter-terrorism cooperation with Britain in response to London's decision to expel four Russian diplomats.

Russian officials will also stop visits to Britain due to visa disputes, Kamynin added.

British Ambassador to Russia Anthony Brenton was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry earlier Thursday. He declined to give details on the meeting but said he had received several messages from the Russian side and would send them back to London.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Monday that Britain would expel four diplomats from the Russian embassy in London due to Russia's refusal to extradite a main suspect in the poisoning case, Andrei Lugovoi, who was accused of murdering Litvinenko.

Speaking at the House of Commons, Miliband also said Britain would suspend visa facilitation negotiation with Russia.

Litvinenko died of radioactive poisoning, from Polonium 210, in London on Nov. 23. Experts investigating his death found radiation traces at a dozen locations and on two British Airways airplanes that flew the Moscow-London route.

Lugovoi, a business partner of Litvinenko and also a former KGB agent, met him at a London hotel on Nov. 1. Litvinenko fell ill on that day and died weeks later in a London hospital.

On July 5, Russia's Prosecutor General's Office formally rejected Britain's request for the extradition of Lugovoi.

Russia has said its rejection was based both on a constitutional ban on turning Russian citizens over to foreign countries, and on a European convention that allows signatories to refuse to extradite their nationals.

Source: Xinhua



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