October 5th, 2007 03:52 EST
Incident in Baghdad with Russian Embassy in Iraq
On October 1, 2007, employees of the international private security firm Global, responsible for security at Baghdad Airport under a contract with the Iraqi Ministry of Transport, sought to search motor vehicles belonging to the Russian Embassy in Iraq, and threatened the Russian representatives with the use of arms, which could have provoked a response and led to serious consequences. Thanks to the restraint and composure of our diplomats and their clear and proper actions, the incident was resolved.
We regard this incident as a rude violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and other universally recognized rules of international law determining the status and immunity of diplomatic representatives.
There were taken on the Russian side immediate steps to prevent a recurrence of such provocations. The head of Russia’s diplomatic mission in Baghdad presented an appropriate demarche before the leadership of the Foreign Ministry of Iraq and the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation sent a note of protest to the Iraqi Embassy in Moscow. Iraq’s Foreign Ministry offered sincere apologies for the rude and inadmissible treatment of the Russian diplomats at the hands of the Global employees led by a US citizen.
We expect that the Baghdad airport incident provoked by Global employees will be reviewed with all seriousness by the official Iraqi authorities, particularly in the context of efforts toward the legal regulation of their relations with foreign private security entities operating in the country. As is known, the immediate cause for this was the disproportionate use of arms on September 16 by employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA that left several Iraqi civilians dead and wounded.
We firmly believe in the need for all the parties that have assumed responsibility for security in Iraq to observe legality and civilized norms of behavior.
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