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    RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS HOPE FOR REGULAR MEETINGS WITH THE TWO RUSSIANS DETAINED IN QATAR

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    MOSCOW, March 4, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Embassy in Qatar hopes that meetings with the two Russian citizens, who were detained in Qatar two weeks ago, will be regular, an embassy official told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

    He said that on Wednesday the Russian consul in Qatar visited the two Russian secret service staff members who the Qatar authorities are accusing of being involved in the murder of Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, an emissary of Chechen separatists. However, the official did not specify the details of the meeting.

    That was the second time embassy representatives were allowed to meet with the detained men.

    In the evening of February 18, local secret service agents arrested three Russian citizens who were on a mission in the Russian Embassy. Later, one of them was released.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized that the arrest was made with the use of arms and brutal force. In violation of international law, the Russian citizens were denied the right to meet with representatives of the Russian Embassy for seven days.

    Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov stated that the Russian citizens are staff members of the Russian secret services. As secret services staff members, they were on a mission in the embassy and had arrived there legally. They were fulfilling their tasks which were of an information and analytical nature connected with the fight against international terrorism in accordance with local legislation.

    Moscow has repeatedly stated that the two Russian citizens were not involved in the murder of Mr. Yandarbiyev.

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