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Washington says recently spoke with Moscow on Bout's extradition

RIA Novosti

05:35 27/08/2010

WASHINGTON, August 27 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow recently spoke with Washington about alleged arms smuggler Viktor Bout, who is expected to be extradited from Thailand to the United States, the U.S. Department of State said.

Former Russian army officer Viktor Bout, 44, was arrested in March 2008 on a request from the United States, which accuses him of illegally trading arms. He has denied the accusations.

"I think the Russian Government has communicated with us regarding this case," Philip Crowley, the department's assistant secretary, told a daily press briefing, but he refused to say what the talks were about.

When asked whether the Russian authorities were happy with the talks, Crowley said "I'll leave it to the Russian Government to describe their mood."

He added, however, that the case with the alleged arms smuggler would not affect ties between the United States and Russia.

Last Friday, the Thai appeals court ruled to extradite the Russian to the United States.

Thai media earlier reported that Bout would be extradited on Wednesday, but later said it had been delayed because of "legal complications."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the Thai court's decision politically motivated, suggesting it was made to appease Washington. He also said Moscow would seek Bout's repatriation.

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