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Belarus/Russia: New York Mayor Wants Two Diplomats Sent Home

New York, 3 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has written to the ambassadors of Russia and Belarus demanding that two diplomats involved in a scuffle with New York City police be recalled from their posts.

The two diplomats are the first secretary of Russia's United Nations mission, Boris Obnosov, and the first secretary of the Belarusian UN mission, Yuri Orange.

The New York police department says the two were taken into custody last Sunday because they were drunk and fought with police officers who were writing citations for illegally parked cars. Police say both were released once U.S. officials confirmed their identities. Under an international agreement, diplomats are immune from prosecution in their host countries.

Russian authorities disagree with the account of the incident given by New York police and the Russian Foreign Ministry is demanding an apology. The U.S. State Department said Thursday that it won't take any action over the arrest until the police department provides a full report of the incident.

The Russian Foreign Ministry says Obnosov was dragged from his car and beaten by police on Sunday and then arrested and detained at a police station for 30 minutes. Yuri Orange was detained at the same time.

The police department, however, said the diplomats were taken into custody because they were drunk and abusive and fought with police officers who were writing citations for illegally parked cars. The police say officers pulled the Russian from his car because he appeared intoxicated and refused to show his driver's license. They said the Belarus diplomat then jumped out and punched one of the policemen.

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the United States will take what he called appropriate action when an investigation is finished.