News / Europe

US: Russian Arms Dealer's Extradition Will Not Affect Relations with Moscow

Alleged Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, right, escorted by Thai police commando, arrives at Don muang airport in Bangkok, 16 Nov 2010
Alleged Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout, right, escorted by Thai police commando, arrives at Don muang airport in Bangkok, 16 Nov 2010

Suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has been extradited from Thailand to the United States to stand trial, a development opposed by Moscow.  U.S. officials say the move will not complicate U.S.-Russian relations, despite Russian comments to the contrary.

The United States has long been seeking the extradition of Viktor Bout, an alleged international arms trafficker who was captured in Thailand more than two years ago.   

Bout, a former Soviet air force pilot, is accused of selling weapons that have been used in conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and South America.  He will face trial in the United States on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to a terrorist organization for use in killing Americans.

Moscow has long opposed Bout's extradition to the United States and called for him to be released and returned to Russia.

U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters Tuesday that he does not believe this development will have an effect on U.S. relations with Russia.  He characterized the relationship between the U.S. and Russia as "broad and deep," and guided by mutual national interests.   

"We understand that on a number of issues, we agree to disagree sometimes," said Crowley.  "We have tensions that crop up periodically, and we work to manage those. I don't expect that this will have any impact on the relationship."

U.S. lawmakers told Thailand in August that its handling of the Bout case had not been fair or transparent, and they warned that his release could harm U.S.-Thai relations.

Speaking to reporters while on a visit to Kenya Tuesday, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the extradition is a result of unprecedented political pressure on the Thai court system and government.  

Lavrov said Russia's foreign ministry considers the entire situation to be an outrageous injustice and that the ministry will continue to assist Bout.  

Crowley said State Department officials are aware of the Russian government's feeling about the extradition.  He emphasized that Thailand's decision to extradite Bout was just.   

"It is fully consistent with both our bilateral treaty obligations with Thailand and fully consistent with international law," added Crowley.

Also Tuesday, the deputy president of Russia's Duma, Vladimir Zhirinovski, accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency of framing Bout.  Zhirinovski said the situation will complicate U.S.-Russian relations.  

Bout has denied the charges against him, saying he is a legitimate businessman who operated an airfreight company.

But the United Nations has also sanctioned Bout for alleged arms trafficking activity and support of armed conflicts in Africa.

Thai police and U.S. drug agents arrested Bout in Bangkok in March 2008 as part of a sting operation that involved U.S. agents posing as members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).  Bout was allegedly involved in a deal to provide Russian anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons.   

Last year, a Thai court rejected a U.S. extradition request on grounds that FARC is not a terrorist group.

The U.S. Department of Justice has said that the facts of the case, Thai law and the terms of the U.S.-Thai bilateral extradition treaty all supported Bout's extradition.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid