Russia demands expulsion of reporters, envoys over UN leaks

Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:12pm EDT
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* Russia U.N. envoy Churkin angry at leaks on Syria briefing

* Churkin suggests media paying diplomats for information

By Michelle Nichols and Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Russia slammed leaks to the media from a closed-door Security Council briefing on Syria on Wednesday, saying diplomats and journalists involved should be stripped of U.N. accreditation fo r the release of confidential information.

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was angry that some diplomats conveyed to Reuters that the U.N.-Arab League mediator for the Syrian conflict, Lakhdar Brahimi, told the 15-member council that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had accepted Brahimi's plan for an Eid holiday ceasefire.

"It's a shame that somebody's feeding information, or disinformation, to Reuters from the consultation room of the Security Council. This is a scandalous thing, we have seen this before. I hope they are paid well," Churkin told reporters.

Reuters adhered to the highest standards in reporting this story, a company spokesperson said. "It is fair and accurate and we stand by it," th e spokesperson said.

Despite his frustration at the leak, Churkin confirmed the Reuters article in comments to reporters at the Security Council media stakeout after the briefing on the 19-month Syrian conflict had finished.

Churkin, a former Soviet government spokesman, also said Russia had raised the issue during the meeting and asked the U.N. secretariat to investigate.   Continued...