Russia expels two Spanish diplomats in response to expulsion of two Russian diplomatsDecember 29th, 2010 - 12:54 am ICT by BNO News
MADRID, SPAIN (BNO NEWS) — Russia on Friday expelled two Spanish diplomats in response to the expulsion of two diplomats with the Russian embassy in Madrid seven weeks ago, Spain’s El Pais newspaper revealed on Tuesday.
On Christmas eve, the political advisor at the Spanish embassy in Moscow, Ignacio Cartagena, and first secretary of the embassy, Borja Cortes-Breton, were expelled from the Russian capital by Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
On Tuesday, the Spanish government said the response from Russia was normal and denied going into further details as there is a scheduled program for the upcoming year which consists of many cultural activities and a visit to St. Petersburg by the Spanish royalty.
In early November, Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez expelled two secretaries with the Russian embassy to Madrid after the National Intelligence Center (CNI) found out they were involved in espionage.
The Spanish government, however, assured that its two diplomats were not engaged in spying activities and declined further comment in order to protect relation with Moscow. Minister Jimenez said that the decision was probably taken by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Jimenez added that her ministry has no intentions of expelling other Russian diplomats. The incident is the most serious between the two countries since Spain resumed diplomatic relations with Russia in 1977, after 38 years of being stalled.
The latest conflict between Russia and Spain took place in 2007 when CNI agent Roberto Florez was discovered to have sold information to Russian spies. He was not expelled but Florez was sentenced to 12 years in prison, although the Supreme Court later reduced his term to seven years.
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