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MFA: Mozambique Works with Russia to Clarify Circumstances of Ambassador’s Death

MFA: Mozambique Works with Russia to Clarify Circumstances of Ambassador’s Death

Mozambique’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation said today that it is ‘working in coordination’ with the Russian Embassy in Maputo to clarify the circumstances surrounding the death of Ambassador Alexander Surikov on Saturday.

‘The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation is working in coordination with the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Maputo, under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, to clarify the circumstances of his death,’ said the ministry’s spokesman, José Matsinhe, in a press statement today in Maputo.

According to the spokesman, the contacts are also aimed at ‘guaranteeing due solemnity in the transfer of the body of the deceased to the Russian Federation’.

The ministry recognises that Ambassador Surikov, in office since 2017, ‘spared no effort to materialise’ ‘closer relations of friendship and cooperation’ between the two countries, it said.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi today sent a message of condolence to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on the death in Maputo of Ambassador Alexander Surikov, assuring support in the ‘subsequent’ process.

‘The early departure of Ambassador Surikov, a dedicated diplomat with exceptional qualities who, with unrivalled professionalism, was able to defend his country’s interests while promoting fruitful cooperation between our two countries, leaves a huge void,’ says the Mozambican President’s message of condolence.

In the same message, Filipe Nyusi reiterates the ‘solidarity’ and ‘full support of the Mozambican government in the subsequent proceedings’.

The Mozambican Public Prosecutor’s Office said today that it was unaware of the alleged decision by the Russian authorities not to authorise the Russian ambassador’s autopsy.

Alexander Surikov, 68, was found dead on Saturday night at his official residence in Maputo and, according to the Mozambican police, the Russian authorities did not authorise any examination of the body.

‘I can’t talk about the failure to authorise an autopsy. I have no knowledge of it. But naturally, the Public Prosecutor’s Office will take cognisance of any criminal incident,’ Nazimo Mussá, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, told the media on the sidelines of the office’s meeting in Maputo.

According to information from the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) to which Lusa had access on Sunday, the ‘presumption’ of the investigation is ‘sudden death from undetermined causes’, however, when the police picket arrived at the morgue of Maputo’s Central Hospital ‘they found that the body had already been packaged’.

‘And, under instructions from Russia, which reached the picket’s technical team through the consul of that Federation, Mr Yuri Doroshenkov, who was present at the morgue together with the embassy’s security officer, they were instructed not to carry out any (…) examination of the body, let alone an autopsy,’ the information states.

‘However, the technical team took photographs of the deceased’s body in the drawer, photographs were taken of the deceased’s home and the consul’s statement was taken,’ it added.

In one of his few statements to the media, Ambassador Surikov had told Lusa on 2 February that Moscow was willing to support Maputo in the fight against terrorism in Cabo Delgado, in the event of a request, pointing out, however, that the support the country is receiving is sufficient.

‘We have many years’ experience of co-operation in the military sphere with Mozambique, we helped that country build its armed forces and they know perfectly well about our capabilities. If they need any specific help, we are always there for them,’ he said at the time.

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