ESTONIAN DIPLOMATS EXPELLED FROM MOSCOW

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MOSCOW, March 24, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent) - Estonian diplomats who have been declared personae non grata by the Russian foreign ministry are leaving Moscow, spokesman for the Estonian embassy in Moscow told RIA Novosti.

On Monday, March 22, Estonia's charge d'affaires in Russia Juri Arusoo was summoned to the Russian foreign ministry where he learnt that two Estonian diplomats were declared personae non grata and had to leave the country within two days, because their activities ran counter to their diplomatic status and infringed upon Russia's interests.

Last Wednesday, the Estonian foreign ministry told two Russian diplomats to leave Estonia within 48 hours. One of them left the country on Thursday, and the other on Friday.

According to the Estonian media reports that officials refused to comment on, the diplomats allegedly tried to obtain information about Estonia's armed forces before its accession to NATO.

The diplomats did not hold high posts. The business trip of one of them was to finish in the near future, and the other - in late 2004.

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