Russia expels Latvian diplomat

  • 2004-04-29
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA – Russia's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that it had expelled a Latvian diplomat. The move was made in response to a decision last week by Latvia's Foreign Ministry to boot a Russian Embassy official who had allegedly been trying to gather information on Latvia's defence forces.

The Interfax news agency reported that the decision to expel the first secretary of the Latvian Embassy in Moscow was given directly to Latvian Ambassador to Russia Normans Penke, who was summoned to Russia's Foreign Ministry.
In accordance to the Vienna Convention, the diplomat is expected to leave Moscow within 72 hours.
The Russian diplomat, Second Secretary Pyotr Uzhumov, was expelled on April 23 for activities "incompatible with his diplomatic status."It was the first such expulsion by Latvia in recent history and came after both Estonia and Lithuania had also kicked out Russian diplomats for allegedly gathering data on defence capabilities and the Baltic countries' involvement in NATO. In Lithuania, where three diplomats were expelled, there were also accusations that the diplomats had tried to gather intelligence on the privatization of alcohol distilleries. Latvian Prime Minister Indulis Emsis said that the expulsion of Russian diplomats from all three Baltic countries at around the same time suggested "some kind of trend," though he added that the incident in Latvia was "very concrete" and in no way related to the cases in Estonia and Lithuania.
Aiva Rosenberga, spokeswoman for President Vaira Vike-Freiberga,l said last week, "This is the first such case in the history of Latvia. Latvia has in its diplomatic relations always based on tolerance and understanding, but there is a limit to everything and this time the limit has been breached."