RUSSIA DOES EVERYTHING TO BRING CITIZENS DETAINED IN QATAR BACK

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MOSCOW, March 23, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia is doing its best to return the Russian citizens detained in Qatar home, the Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said at a press conference in RIA Novosti.

"Russia's stand concerning the Russians detained in Qatar has been stated by Russian Foreign Minister," he said.

Three Russian special service agents were arrested in Qatar on February 18th on suspicion of being involved in the murder of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, former Chechen separatist leader. One of them, a diplomat, was later released.

The ministry's statement pointed out that Russian citizens "stayed in Qatar legally and carried out information and analytical tasks related to fight against international terrorism without any violations of local legislation".

At present the arrestees are kept in a prison of the Qatari capital of Doha, and the local authorities insist that they should stand a trial.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced last week that Moscow insisted that the detainees should be returned to Russia.

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