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Published:July 24th, 2007 05:46 EST
EU Presidency Statement on Probe into So Called Litvinenko Case

EU Presidency Statement on Probe into So Called Litvinenko Case

By SOP newswire

The day before, the European Union leadership expressed disappointment over the position taken by Russia with respect to the probe into the murder in London of former Russian special services agent Alexander Litvinenko. “The EU expresses its disappointment at Russia’s failure to cooperate constructively with the UK authorities," reads a statement circulated on behalf of the Portugal EU Presidency. The EU urges Russia to “immediately start cooperating constructively" in the investigation of this crime and says it “hopes for a satisfactory solution to this matter, which raises important questions of common interest to EU member states."

“This statement by the Portuguese EU Presidency came as an unpleasant surprise to us," Vladimir Chizhov, Permanent Representative of Russia to the European Communities in Brussels, told Interfax on Thursday.

“We would not like to see the principle of European solidarity being selectively applied only towards Russia," the Russian permanent representative noted, adding that “this will inevitably reflect on relations between Russia and the EU."

“Although the word ‘solidarity’ is not to be found in the statement, actually this is an expression of solidarity and that’s exactly how the British side interprets it," Chizhov said. “It is strange to see such a statement with respect to the position of London, which does not stand up to criticism not only from the viewpoint of legal norms, but also in terms of elementary common sense," stressed the high-ranking diplomat.

In Chizhov’s view, “if the EU were consistent, it would probably call on the US to change its constitution to satisfy the Italian government’s request for the extradition of 26 CIA agents demanded by a Milan court." “Or the EU would demand of the UK itself a change of its laws that they would at last match the part of norms accepted in the EU concerning incorporation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which London has refused to adopt as legally binding," he added, stressing “nothing of this is really happening."

“If you literally read the Portuguese presidency statement, it is actually knocking at the open door, as Moscow did offer constructive cooperation to the British side, but London rejected those offers," Chizhov stressed. He recalled that it had taken Russia only a few days to allow British investigators in, but Russian investigators had long waited for the possibility to go to the UK.

“To speak of an absence of constructive cooperation by the Russian side is therefore groundless, to say the least," stressed Vladimir Chizhov.

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