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EU: Commission Disowns Berlusconi Remarks On Yukos, Chechnya

Brussels, 7 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The European Commission today said it does not agree with remarks made by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi about events in Russia. At the closing of an EU-Russia summit in Rome yesterday, Berlusconi defended the Russian government's position on Chechnya accusing the European media of "telling tales" about Chechnya.

Berlusconi also interjected when Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked a question about the Yukos oil company scandal currently dominating Russian news.

European Commission spokesman Reijo Kemppinen said Berlusconi's remarks should be considered "personal remarks." Kemppinen said the European Commission does not "share the view of Prime Minister Berlusconi when it comes to the situation of Yukos, nor when it comes to the present or past situation in Chechnya."