15 Sep 2020 21:45

Moscow waiting for Berlin's reaction to requests for legal assistance on Navalny situation - Lavrov in conversation with Maas

MOSCOW. Sept 15 (Interfax) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to his German counterpart Heiko Maas by telephone on Tuesday to discuss bilateral relations and international coordination against the backdrop of the situation around Alexei Navalny, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"The Russian side confirmed its readiness for cooperation on this matter. Moscow reiterated that it continues waiting for a reaction from German relevant authorities to the requests the Russian Prosecutor General's Office sent on August 27 and September 14 of this year, in line with the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, for legal assistance primarily in the transfer of the biomaterial, test results, clinical samples and medical documentation required for a thorough, full inquiry into Navalny's illness and hospitalization, to which our Western colleagues have been so actively exhorting us in the public domain," the ministry stated on its website.

The relevant position was also communicated to French President Emmanuel Macron during his telephone conversation with President Vladimir Putin on September 14, the ministry said. "Further ignoring of such requests will be regarded as the reluctance of our partners to help establish the truth in an objective and full inquiry into the incident," the ministry said.

"Lavrov urged his counterpart to refrain from further politicizing the Navalny situation, while saying that we will not accept the citing of 'independence' of the justice system or the need to consult with Navalny himself or his relatives and close friends who, in breach of said Convention, are being used to hinder access by Russian criminal experts and medics to the material available in Germany regarding his illness and treatment," the statement reads.

As for the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to which Russia was referred by Germany in relation to the case, "Germany's using it as a platform for clarifying [the matter] should not hinder bilateral cooperation within [the OPCW] or through well-established channels of legal assistance, as required by the parties' obligations under the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and protocols thereto," the ministry said, adding that the ministers agreed to continue their dialogue on these and other issues of the Russian-German and international agendas.