Unlawful activities of British Council in Russia should stop

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Moscow, Jan 3 (UNI) Russia today asked London to exercise its law and stop the unlawful activities of the British Council in the country.

''Moscow proceeds from a premise that the British side will fully observe Russian legislation and stop the unlawful activities of its British Council in the territory of the Russian Federation,'' Vesti TV channel quoted Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mikhail Kamynin as saying.

''Other actions would be of provocative nature and would be aimed at fanning up further tension in bilateral relations,'' Mr Kamynin said.

''The operation of the British Council in Moscow and Russian regions has no appropriate practice in the world and a legal basis,'' he noted.

The spokesperson said the work on a bilateral agreement on cultural centres was frozen as a result of adverse actions by London in the sphere of Russian-British relations.

''It was London that announced Russian diplomats persona non grata; it was London that froze their work on a bilateral agreement on simplifying visa procedures and it was London that spurned down cooperation with the Russian Federal Security Service on problems of anti-terror,'' he pointed out.

''We are surprised by London's attempt, apart from challenging evident things, to draw into the discussion, on clearly the losing side, other countries, above all European Union member countries,'' Mr Kamynin said.

''The absence of legal arguments forces London evidently to politicise the question on the British Council,'' he added.

In December, Russia suspended the operation of all regional branches of the British Council in Russia from the start of 2008, apart from the central office in Moscow.

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