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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

New Zealand halts trade negotiations with Russia after Salisbury attack

Country's prime minister says it's 'too early' to say when the talks will resume 

New Zealand’s halts free-trade talks with Russia after the UK accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering a nerve-agent attack in the UK. Anatoly Maltsev / AP
New Zealand’s halts free-trade talks with Russia after the UK accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering a nerve-agent attack in the UK. Anatoly Maltsev / AP

New Zealand’s attempts to restart free-trade talks with Russia are on hold after the UK accused Vladimir Putin of ordering a nerve-agent attack in the British city of Salisbury.

“We are all deeply concerned,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a New Zealand television interview broadcast Saturday. “Salisbury changes things, and so it is too early at this point to say when or if those talks will restart.”

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Read more:

Kremlin furious as Britain links Putin to ex-spy attack

UK murder probe launched over death of Russian businessman

Salisbury nerve agent may have been planted in luggage in Moscow

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New Zealand’s government suspended free-trade talks with Russia in 2014 over Putin’s annexation of Crimea. The NZ Herald reported March 12 that Ardern backed Foreign Minister Winston Peters’ push to restart the discussions.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats Wednesday in response to the poisoning of a former spy in southwest England. Britain is waiting on the Kremlin’s response, which is expected to include tit-for-tat expulsions as the two countries trade barbs over the apparent attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.