Russian Foreign Ministry called for Ambassador of Qatar in Russia Mr. Al-Kubeisi.
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov made the following statement to him:
”At night of February 18, in the city of Dokha, the capital of Qatar, local special services arrested three Russian citizens being on a business trip at Russian Embassy. The arrest was conducted with use of weapons and brutal force. The above mentioned Russian citizens (one of them has diplomatic passport) are Russian special services officers.
They were affiliated to Russian Embassy and were staying in Qatar legally, they did not violate Qatar laws and were working on the information and analytical assignment related to counteracting international terrorism. Their actions entirely corresponded with the efforts of the states-members of the anti-terrorist coalition on detecting the sources and channels of funding, organizational mechanisms and other means of supporting terrorist organizations.
In addition to the forced capture of Russian citizens, Qatar authorities did not immediately inform Russian Embassy about their actions. Moreover, international laws were violated: for seven days the requests of the arrested Russian citizens to meet representative of Russian Embassy were rejected.
Russia is taking the most energetic measures to protect its citizens. One of these measures is arrival of the special envoy of Russian Foreign Minister in Doha to conduct negotiations with Qatar authorities. As a result, one Russian citizen was freed. Currently he is in Russian Embassy. Persistent efforts continue being taken to set free the two other Russian citizens. Qatar authorities bear absolute responsibility for their lives and health. Contacts with Qatar authorities proved that they are trying to lay the responsibility for assassinating well-known Zelimkhan Yandarbiev upon Russian citizens.
Russian officials have already stated that Russia has nothing in common with this incident. The attempts of Qatar authorities to lay the responsibility for assassinating Yandarbiev upon Russian citizens have no grounds – they are not involved in this incident. Insinuations of Qatar authorities can be estimated only as provocation.
As for Yanbarbiev’s personality and his staying in Qatar, we have to say that for his malicious deeds in Russia and ties with Al-Qaeda he was put on the UN sanction list as one of the most dangerous international terrorists. According to the UN anti-terrorist resolutions, all states are required to prosecute the terrorists or hand them to the countries where they committed crimes.
Russia many times, on the highest level, addressed Qatar its requests to hand Yandarbiev to Russia. He was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Russian citizens, including the ones died at Dubrovka Theater Center in Moscow in the act of terrorism which was supervised by Yandarbiev from Qatar.
Qatar authorities violated their international obligations on fighting terrorism and assisted Yandarbiev greatly – he could go whenever he wanted and communicate with representatives of terrorist and radical religious organizations, raise funds for conducting new acts of terrorism in different countries.
The UN is concerned with such a policy of tolerating international terrorism. Arabic and all Moslem countries are also concerned with this policy leading to the allegations of ties between Islam and terrorism.
Russia has always declared that it wants stable relations with Qatar in the best interests of our states and people. This can be achieved on the basis of strict following the UN Chapter and other norms of international law”.
Russian Foreign Ministry Press Department Reported that Igor Ivanov demanded Qatar authorities to release citizens immediately and give them the opportunity to return to Russia.
Zelimkhan Yandarbiev died on February 13 after his Jeep was exploded in the city of Doha. Qatar Embassy informed Russian Foreign Ministry about this on the same day. There was information that Yandarbiev’s son was also killed, but it is not verified.
A week later, on February 20, Qatar Interior Ministry made an official statement that two suspects of assassinating Yandarbiev had been detained, BBC News reported. Qatar law-enforcers did not inform on the details of this arrest. They made no comment to the information that the suspects were arrested in the United Arabic Emirates and then handed to Qatar authorities.
Murder of one of the leaders of Chechen radicals Zelimkhan Yandarbiev caused reserved joy in Moscow and inert reaction of Chechen rebels spokesmen. Some people estimate this as success of Russian law-enforcers, others say that Russian special services create hostility between separatists, some people say that the operation was conducted in cooperation with the CIA, others – that Russia became closer to the centers of Islamic world and this changed the centers’ position on Chechen issue (they told about the recent trip of Chechen President Akhmat Kadirov to Saudi Arabia).
Russian authorities have many reasons to detest Yandarbiev. “This former President of so-called “Republic Ichkeria” was the representative of the most radical group within Chechen authorities, he was “militant of Dudaev’s call-up”, director of Pamir-Ural analytical group Alexander Sobynin said in a RBC-daily interview. While beingin the Chechen authorities, Yandarbiev was responsible of conducting military actions against Russian Army and was in charge of Ichkeria special services.
According to some data, during the act of terrorism in Dubrovka Theater in 2003, Yandarbiev telephoned from Qatar the terrorists in Moscow and coordinated their actions. There is no information of the ties of the former Ichkerian President with the recent blast in Moscow Metro. However, this act of terrorism could fill up the cup for Russian special services, and the decision to liquidate Yandarbiev could be made. Saudi Al-Aum newspaper wrote about involvement of Russian special service in killing Yandarbiev. The newspaper quotes the statement of former Yandarbiev’s assistant Ibrahim Gabi from Voice of Caucasus website that “the Kremlin and Russian security force are behind this assassination” and “they will have to pay high price for this”. In addition, Saudi newspaper cites anonymous source in Washington saying that “Yandarbiev’s death relates to the blast in Moscow Metro on February 6”.
Another Chechen radical leader Akhmed Zakaev is accusing Russian special services of assassinating Yandarbiev.
FSB (Federal Security Service) denounced the allegations of its involvement in the assassination. Director of Foreign Intelligence Service Press Department Boris Labunov said that “neither our service nor its predecessor – KGB department - conduct the actions of this sort since 1959 (that year leader of Ukrainian nationalists Stepan Bandera was killed).
“This action could be conducted only with the assistance of Moslems – Chechens or Arabs having contacts with Yandarbiev”, former officer of Russian special services said in a Lenta.ru interview. Meanwhile, experts say Israeli special services could be involved in Yandarbiev’s assassination.
Source in Russian special services that the assassination of Yandarbiev can result from “the clash of interests with Chechen terrorists because Yandarbiev knew well the money flows from abroad sponsoring Chechen terrorists. Many foreign sponsors have changed their attitude to financing terrorists, and Yandarbiev could be a dangerous witness for them.
Deputy Prime Minister of Chechnya Adlan Magomedov has a different opinion: “According to our information, there was a conflict between Chechen terrorist leaders because Udugov and Yandarbiev received one amount of money from radical foundations to conduct acts of terrorism and transferred to Chechnya only a small fraction of this money”.
There is also a version of blood feud, but in any case, assassinating Yandarbiev will not influence the situation in Chechnya and will not reduce the risk of terrorist attacks. For a long time Yandarbiev did not control the situation in CHecnya, more serious figures replaced him. One of them - “Black Arab” Abu-Valid – a key figure for “Arabization of Chechens”. He trains terrorists-martyrs, plans the attacks and assists to set the targets. “He is becoming more powerful than the Chechen militant leaders he is assisting to”, the Sunday Times wrote. According to this newspaper, Abu-Valid received $4.5 billion on his account in foreign bank shortly before the blast in Moscow Metro. This Saudi terrorist coordinates his actions with Osama bin Laden on a regular basis.
In the end of December 2003 Al-Jaseera broadcast the video of Al-Valid promising to conduct several terrorist attacks in Russia with the use of women-suicide bombers.
P.S. Qatar authorities brought officials charges to the two suspects of murdering leader of Chechen separatists Zelimkhan Yandarbiev. The report of Qatar Interior Ministry states that the charges are brought against the two suspects detained on February 19 for interrogation. Their names have not been mentioned. On February 25 information appeared that the investigation was passed to Qatar Office of General Prosecutor. Source in Qatar Interior Ministry reported ITAR-TASS news agency that the Office of General State Prosecutor is requested to interrogate both the arrested on charges of assassinating Yandarbiev.
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