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Spain downplays diplomatic expulsions with Russia

Updated: 2010-12-29 06:31


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MADRID - The Spanish government on Tuesday tried to downplay Russia's recent decision of expelling two Spanish diplomats.

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Russia has requested Ignacio Cartagena, political advisor at the Spanish embassy, and First Secretary Borja Cortes-Breton to leave the country on Dec 24 -- a move Spain saw as a clear act of retaliation after it expelled two Russian diplomats in November.

"Both governments consider that this incident is over and are now working to complete their delegations as soon as possible," the Spanish Foreign Ministry said in a commmunique on Tuesday.

The communique also confirmed that Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez would visit Moscow as scheduled on Jan 16, 2011.

The King and Queen of Spain have also planned to visit St. Petersburg later in the year for events of The Year of Spain in Russia. But the new diplomatic friction is believed to cast a shadow over a year of intense cultural exchanges between the two countries in 2011.

According to the ministry, Spain in November asked two Russian diplomats to leave the country "for carrying out activities incompatible with their status."


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