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Russia Criticizes Norway Over Chechen Envoy's Visit

15 June 2004 -- Russia today sharply criticized Norway for allowing a visit by a prominent Chechen separatist envoy.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the decision by Norwegian authorities to allow the visit by Akhmed Zakaev has harmed relations and raised questions about Norway's dedication to UN resolutions that proscribe any form of support to "organizations or individuals involved in terrorist acts".

Oslo police said today Russia had demanded that Norway arrest and extradite Zakaev, an aide to former Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. Zakaev was visiting Norway at the invitation of an opposition parliamentary deputy.

Russia has previously unsuccessfully asked Britain and Denmark to extradite Zakaev, who now has refugee status in both countries.