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883 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     875 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

PRESS RELEASES

09.02.2011

Response by Official Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Alexander Lukashevich to the question regarding British journalist Luke Harding

We received a large number of questions regarding the situation around British journalist Luke Harding. We explained our position rather well in the comments published by the Department of Information and Press. Yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov made a very clear statement in this regard.

The journalist in question has violated our internal legislation on a number of occasions, a fact that he is aware of and that he once admitted. Nevertheless, the Russian side made concessions and extended Mr. Harding’s visa and accreditation. Then a set of the known events followed – Mr. Harding returned to London without his accreditation card. I have seen many attempts in the press to accuse the Russian border guards of sending him out without allowing him to enter the country, etc. In accordance with the international practice and, for that matter, the British laws, a border guard can cancel even a valid visa without explaining the reasons. This provision is set forth in paragraph 10B of the correspondent provisions of the British regulations.

If Mr.Harding wishes to continue working in Russia, we do not see any obstacles to that happening; all he needs to do is regularise his status in accordance with the provisions on accrediting foreign correspondents and apply for a visa at the Russian Embassy in London that will be ready to issue it. He will be able to continue his journalistic activities for the period determined by his tenure as a representative of The Guardian in Russia.

This is a technical matter and I do not think that it deserves so much commotion, let alone the allegations that were addressed to us. We are sufficiently open and Mr.Harding knows that our interaction has been normal. There is only one universal requirement for all journalists – to follow our domestic laws, not to break them and to be in close contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. When visits are made to restricted regions of the country it is necessary to obtain a special permission. I think that this practice is entirely understandable and should be accepted without any comments.




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