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    EX-USSR KGB OFFICER THINKS ABSURD QATAR AUTHORITIES' ACCUSATIONS AGAINST RUSSIAN NATIONALS

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 26 (RIA NOVOSTI) - An ex-officer of the KGB security service of the former USSR has called "absurd" and "utterly illogical" the accusations hurled by the Qatar authorities against Russian nationals for arranging the murder of Zelimkhan Yandarbiev.

    "Yandarbiev's murder is not good for Moscow because the Russian authorities were interested in the extradition of Yandarbiev and taking him to court," the experts said to RIA Novosti in an interview.

    Yandarbiev as a political figure presented no interest to Russia, he said.

    "His death could interest people in his company engaged in the handing out of moneys sent by international terrorist organizations to continue the activities of bandit groups in Russia," he said.

    Back in 1999 Gasan Ibragimov, first deputy head of the FSB (the Federal Security Service) board for Daghestan, said in a Novye Izvestia interview that finance for terrorists in Chechnya was arriving, particularly, from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

    In March 2003 the first program of the German ARD television reported that the government of the United States' ally Arab emirate Qatar was maintaining "close contacts" with the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization.

    It said that Sheikh Abdallah bin Khalifa al-Thani, Interior Minister of Qatar, had for years been giving help to Al-Qaeda "with his own money and resources of his ministry".

    ARD also said that the CIA had information saying that in past years Al-Qaeda men had many times been getting refuge at the Interior Ministry's base in the north of Qatar.

    In May 2003 the United States accused Qatar of conniving at terrorists. American State Secretary Colin Powell lodged a protest with the Qatar Interior Minister regarding Qatar's Al-Jazeera TV channel broadcasting a film which carried pronouncements of Osama bin Laden's associate Ayman al-Zawahiri.

    The three Russian nationals on a business trip at the Russian embassy were seized in Qatar's capital Doha by the secret services in the early hours of February 19.

    "The arrest was made with the use of arms and rude force," Russian acting foreign minister Igor Ivanov has said.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry has demanded from the authorities of Qatar immediately to release the unlawfully detained Russians and give them an opportunity to return home without hindrance.

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