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The UN Security Council will adopt an official declaration on the murder of four Russian diplomats in Iraq
The UN Security Council will adopt an official declaration on the murder of four Russian diplomats in Iraq, a source in Moscow's diplomatic community said Tuesday. Russia's Foreign Ministry Monday conceded that the four diplomats abducted June 3 had in all likelihood been executed by the Mujahideen Shura Council, an Islamic extremist group linked to al-Qaeda. "It is with great pain that we announce that the irremediable has apparently happened to the captured employees of the Russian Embassy in Iraq, despite all the measures that were taken to free our people," a ministry statement said Monday. On Sunday, Arab television channel Al Jazeera reported referring to an Internet statement made by al-Qaeda in Iraq that terrorists had executed the four employees of the Russian Embassy in revenge for what they claimed was "the torture, killing and expulsion of our brothers and sisters by the infidel Russian government" in Chechnya. The international community responded swiftly. A spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General said Kofi Annan "condemns in the strongest possible terms these heinous acts, which no cause can justify." "He urges the Iraqi authorities to do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice, and reiterates his call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages in Iraq," the official said. A statement from the White House said that "with this brutal killing, al-Qaeda in Iraq has once again shown its savagery." "We will continue to deepen our cooperation with Russia to defeat terrorism and bring the perpetrators of this act of violence to justice," the document said. Russia's UN representation said Tuesday that it was seeking to convene an emergency session of the Security Council, possibly as early as the evening, which is expected to condemn the killings.
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