Sun, Feb 12, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Canada, Russia agree on silence in spy case: report

AFP, Ottawa

Russia has agreed to a Canadian request not to publicly disclose any information in the case of a Canadian soldier charged with leaking secrets, a Canadian broadcaster reported on Friday.

CTV said Russian Ambassador Georgiy Mamedov told one of its correspondents during a cocktail reception this week that Moscow has a deal with Ottawa to stay silent until the naval officer’s court case was over.

Mamedov reportedly went on to say that Russia was keeping quiet to preserve its “good relations” with Canada.

He also denied reports that embassy staff were implicated in the affair, saying they are “dead wrong,” CTV said.

Local media had previously reported that Canada expelled six Russian diplomats last month, including Moscow’s defense attache and a consulate worker in Toronto.

In parliament, Canadian Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Deepak Obhrai said: “This matter relates to national security, so I have no further comment.”

The Russian ambassador was not immediately available to comment.

In Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry has previously denied earlier reports of its diplomats leaving Canada over the spy scandal.

Canadian naval officer Jeffrey Paul Delisle, 40, has been accused of communicating over the past five years “with a foreign entity information that the government of Canada is taking measures to safeguard,” according to court documents.

The charges were laid out under the Security of Information Act. Delisle also faces a criminal charge of breach of trust.

The offenses allegedly occurred in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, in Halifax and in towns in the provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia, the court documents said.

Convictions under the security act carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

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