British Foreign Secretary Cook raised Nikitin case in Moscow

Publish date: March 4, 1999

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

The Nikitin case is once again on the top agenda when Russian officials host meetings with their western counterparts. "I think that Mr. Nikitin was the first person to try and tackle the problem which they want to draw attention to", Cook said at a press briefing.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook raised the question about Nikitin during his meetings in Moscow on Thursday, and said he will also bring up the Nikitin case when he meets Russia’s Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Foreign Minister Ivan Ivanov at the Black Sea resort Shotchi tomorrow.

Last month, the Russian Supreme Court rejected an appeal to drop the treason and spying charges against Aleksandr Nikitin. On Wednesday, Cook saw for himself the extent of Russia’s nuclear waste problems when he visited Murmansk. "This is a problem we all share and must deal with together," Cook told reporters after his visit to the nuclear powered icebreaker base Atomflot in Murmansk.

Quoted by Itar-Tass, Cook announced a British programme that will help tackle the pressing problem. Great Britain will be committing over three million pounds to improving the management of Russian nuclear waste and most of it will be used to produce storage facilities for waste nuclear fuel.

Describing Nikitin as the first Russian to try to raise the nuclear waste problems within the Northern Fleet, Cook said he would raise the case of Aleksandr Nikitin. Last month, U.S. Foreign Secretary Madeline Albright said, "The rule of law must apply to every Russian citizen, including journalists, religious activists and others such as Aleksandr Nikitin".