Russian expulsion counterproductive, Canada says

Wed May 6, 2009 8:36am EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Moscow's decision on Wednesday to expel two Canadian NATO officials is setting back efforts to re-engage Russia, Canada said as it summoned the Russian ambassador to provide an explanation.

"Canada strongly regrets Russia's decision to expel two Canadians serving at the NATO Information Office in Moscow," said Catherine Loubier, spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon.

"Canada and NATO Allies have been seeking ways to re-engage Russia. Russia's decision to expel NATO officials is counterproductive to this effort," she said in a statement.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was revoking the diplomatic accreditation of the two officials in response to the Western alliance's expulsion of two Russian diplomats.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; editing by Doina Chiacu)