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Soviets Confirm Expelling French Diplomats

February 4, 1986

MOSCOW (AP) _ The Soviet Union today ordered four French Embassy staff members out of Moscow in an apparent response to France’s expulsion of a like number of Soviet Embassy officials from Paris.

The official news agency Tass said some Frenchmen had been ordered out of Moscow in response to an ″unfriendly action″ toward Soviet Embassy employees in Paris. It did not say specifically that France had ordered the four Soviets to leave the country.

A French Embassy official in Moscow identified the four French employees told to leave as Jean-Paul Guihard, an assistant naval attache; Dominique Hillion, an assistant army attache; Ludovic Sarraz-Bournet, an employee in the commercial office; and Maurice Le Quelle, a communications employee.

French sources said the Soviets ordered to leave Paris were linked to the arrest late last month of retired French air force non-commissioned officer Bernard Sourisseau on charges of spying for the Soviet Union.

Sourisseau, 44, was accused of relaying to Soviet agents the movements of French naval units, including submarines equipped with nuclear weapons.

It was the largest single expulsion of Soviets from France since 1983, when 47 Soviet diplomats and officials were told to leave, reportedly because a senior KGB officer in Moscow gave French counter-espionage officers documents proving widespread Soviet spy activity in France.

The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement in Paris late Monday on the Soviet reaction. ″The French government deplores this measure, which is entirely unjustified,″ it said.

The Tass statement today said:

″A resolute protest was expressed to the French Embassy at the Soviet Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Feb. 1 over an unfriendly action by the French authorities with regard to four Soviet employees in Paris, who were groundlessly accused of ‘illicit activity.’ ″

″Such actions by the French side do not correspond to its declarations about the aspiration to maintain and develop good relations with the USSR. Responsibility for the consequences of the action rests with the French authorities.″

″It was noted that the embassy’s attention was repeatedly drawn to the fact that several French employees in Moscow do not observe rules of conduct of foreign representatives in the U.S.S.R. and are engaged in illicit activity. In this connection some French employees were asked to leave the U.S.S.R.″

Last September, Britain ordered 31 Soviets to leave that country after accusing them of engaging in spying activities. In retaliation, the Kremlin ordered an equal number of Britons to leave Moscow.

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