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Australia too decides to expel Russian diplomat to express solidarity with the UK
Image: FCO/Twitter

Australia too decides to expel Russian diplomat to express solidarity with the UK

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 27 Mar 2018, 01:45 pm

Canberra, Mar 27 (IBNS): Australia became the latest country to expel Russian diplomats as part of a global response to alleged poisoning of a Russian spy in the United Kingdom, according to media reports.

On Tuesday,  Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, made a joint statement saying that two Russian diplomats have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers and will be asked to leave the country within seven days.

Excerpt from the statement:

"Together with the United Kingdom and other allies and partners, Australia is taking action in response to the recent nerve agent attack in Salisbury, UK.

Two Russian diplomats identified as undeclared intelligence officers will be expelled by the Australian Government for actions inconsistent with their status, pursuant to the Vienna Conventions. The two officials will be directed to depart Australia within seven days.

This decision reflects the shocking nature of the attack — the first offensive use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War II, involving a highly lethal substance in a populated area, endangering countless other members of the community.

It takes into account advice from the UK Government that the substance used on 4 March was a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. Such an attack cannot be tolerated by any sovereign nation. We strongly support the call on Russia to disclose the full extent of its chemical weapons program in accordance with international law."

Tweeted Foreign Minister Bishop, "Australia is expelling 2 #Russian diplomats in response to nerve agent attack in #UK - an illegal and shocking act in blatant breach of international rules based order."

On Monday, according to media reports, more than a dozen Western nations announced they will expel Russian diplomats in solidarity with the UK over the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

United States and Canada too joined the European states and ordered the removal of Russian embassy and intelligence staff in the wake of the allegation by the UK that Russia was behind an attack using a deadly nerve-agent in Salisbury on March 4, which left Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, hospitalized in critical condition.

On March 14, the UK brought the charge before an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council, where US Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the US stood in solidarity with the UK in denouncing the “crime” and believed Russia had been responsible for the attack.

At the same meeting, both Russia and the UK said the incident should be investigated by the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the UN-backed body which works to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and eliminate chemical weapons use, and the threat of their use.