Guardian reporter issued new Russian visa - report

Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:03pm GMT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A British journalist expelled from Russia this month has been issued a new entry visa, Russia's Interfax news agency reported on the eve of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to London.

Guardian Moscow correspondent Luke Harding was refused entry at passport control in Moscow last weekend. He had his visa annulled on the spot and was put on a plane back to Britain.

"A visa for Mr Harding was issued on Friday," Interfax quoted an unnamed official at the Russian embassy in London as saying on Sunday.

The embassy's spokesman, Oleg Sepelyov, could neither confirm nor deny the report. Harding and the Guardian were not available for comment.

Lavrov will meet Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague during his first trip to Britain in his capacity as foreign minister.

Harding's case was the latest episode in tense relations between Russia and Britain since the 2006 killing of Kremlin critic and ex-security officer Alexander Litvinenko in London with a rare radioactive isotope.

(Writing by Gleb Bryanski; Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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