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MOSCOW, August 3. /TASS/. Moscow has asked Washington to use the Council of Europe’s prisoner repatriation mechanism for the return of Russian citizens Konstantin Yaroshenko and Viktor bout to Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in reply to a question from TASS on Wednesday.
"It is common knowledge that we addressed our US counterparts with a proposal for using the mechanism of the Council of Europe’s convention of 1983 on the handover of convicts to let the two men serve their prison terms in the home country. That would relieve the US of the burden of keeping Yaroshenko and Bout in custody."
Ryabkov said that Russia would be prepared to consider a similar procedure in relation to US citizens serving prison terms Russia.
The details, such as specific schemes and names, should be discussed in a confidential way, he added.
"But since we are on the subject of Yaroshenko, I’d say ‘Yes’. He and also Bout are among those we would like to be exchanged in this way," he said. "I’m telling Konstantin Yaroshenko’s mother and wife that we are exerting the maximum efforts to this end."
"We do hope that in Washington humanitarian considerations will eventually prevail over time-serving political factors and the temptation to use tragic humanitarian situations involving our citizens as a card in a game with Moscow," Ryabkov said.