Moscow concerned over US non-recognition of diplomatic immunity in Iraq

"Moscow was concerned to hear the US State Department statement that the United States did not recognize the diplomatic immunity of Russia's and other countries' diplomatic representatives in Iraq, their diplomatic status and accordingly, the inviolability of the diplomats," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told RIA Novosti.

"We are studying those statements closely, taking into account international law, including the provisions of recently adopted UN Security Council resolution 1483," he added.

He said Moscow "plans to hold a discussion of this issue with the US in the near future." State Department spokesman Richard Boucher at a press briefing Thursday said Iraq did not have a government with which the diplomats in question could work with and which could grant them privileges and immunity that diplomats stationed in the country are entitled to. He said the US reserved the right to bar from the country individuals who it assessed must not be there.

Questioned on the status of diplomats in Iraq, Boucher said, "They are accredited to a regime that is no longer existent and therefore their accreditation would have lapsed." He declined to comment on Russian diplomats remaining in Baghdad.

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