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Putin Warns EU Over Human Rights Pressure

Russian President Putin with the head of the Russian Commission on Human Rights, Ella Pamfilova (official site) July 5, 2006 -- President Vladimir Putin today warned European officials against using human rights to exert "political pressure" on Russia.

Putin said Russia is "open to an honest, nonpoliticized dialogue about human rights... but it is unacceptable for us when human rights issues are used to exert political pressure and achieve short-term goals."

He also implicitly criticized Britain for giving refuge to an envoy of the Chechen separatists, Akhmed Zakayev, whom Russia has accused of terrorism.

Putin was addressing top European prosecutors, at a meeting in Moscow sponsored by the Council of Europe, the continent's top rights watchdog, which Russia is currently chairing.