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Breaking News

Foreign Minister Says Americans Will Be Expelled From Russia for Spying

Aired March 22, 2001 - 1:36 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: In a developing story we continue to follow today, the United States has asked four Russian diplomats -- or has ordered four Russian diplomats -- to leave the country. These four, the United States says, are directly related to accused spy Robert Hanssen, and as a result, Russia has now said it will be ordering some American diplomats to leave Moscow.

A short time ago, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke out about these developments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE UNITED STATES: ... I made clear to the ambassador the actions the Russian government needs to take to address our long-standing concern about the level of their intelligence presence in the United States.

I have had a long conversation this morning with my Russian colleague, Foreign Minister Ivanov, and we discussed this in some detail. And I said to him that with this action that we took yesterday, that I took with the Russian ambassador, we consider this matter closed. We have important interests in maintaining cooperative and productive relations with Russia, and we intend to continue working to advance those interests.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: It's just been in the past hour that we've learned that Russia would expel American diplomats as well.

And let's go to CNN's Steve Harrigan, who's in Moscow, working that part of the story -- Steve.

STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, it does not seem from this point of view that this story is closed, by any means. We've just spoken with the Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who did confirm he had a phone conversation with the U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Now, Igor Iganov told CNN that Russia would be expelling U.S diplomats from Moscow.

He said in the exact number that the United States expels Russians, so too Russia will expel Americans. When asked as to a timeframe, Mr. Ivanov smiled and said you won't have long to wait -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right, Steve Harrigan will continue to follow the story there, from Moscow -- thanks.

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