Prosecutors Move to Close
British Peacekeeping Center
(RIA Novosti) — Prosecutors in Russia’s North Caucasus republic
of Chechnya have requested the liquidation of a British
NGO promoting peacekeeping and community development, saying
its accreditation has expired.
28, 2005 "the office of the Center for Peacemaking and
Community Development has been operating illegally," prosecutors
said, adding that the center had tax arrears and debts to the
Russian government totaling around 0.5 million rubles ($20,600).
of the NGO were available for comment, but human rights campaigners
criticized the move, saying it was linked to ongoing political
games between Russia and the U.K.
The two countries
are currently caught up in a dispute over Russia’s order that
the U.K. shut down regional Russian centers of the British
Council, a cultural arm of the country’s government.
Foreign Ministry has called the organization’s refusal to close
two of its regional offices a "provocation", while
Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Moscow’s actions showed
that cultural cooperation between the counties was being "held
hostage to unrelated issues."
sources of contention between Moscow and London are Russia’s
refusal to extradite the main suspect in the fatal poisoning
of anti-Kremlin security service defector Alexander Litvinenko
in November 2006, and London’s refusal to extradite high-profile
Russian emigres including Boris Berezovsky, wanted by Russia
on fraud and embezzlement charges.
Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said on Monday that Russia’s
recent actions against the British Council were strictly non-political.
However, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov conceded last month
that Russia’s decision to suspend work on updating the British
Council’s status had come as a response to Britain’s policies.