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Further clarity needed on First Minister's Putin remarks

April 30, 2014 9:02 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP has urgedWillie RennieWillie Rennie the First Minister to make clear his position on Russian President Vladimir Putin amidst growing public outcry over the First Minister's remarks that he admired "certain aspects" of the Russian leaders presidency.

Scotland's representative of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain last night called for an apology from the First Minister, who had made the remarks as Mr Putin faced international criticism over its actions toward Ukrainian troops in Crimea.

The call add to condemnations from leading human rights charity Amnesty International, who said the First Minister should "reserve his admiration for those worth of it, not those who trample over human rights and flout international law."

Commenting, Mr Rennie said:

"The First Minister has once again found himself in a position where he has to clarify the Scottish Government's commitment to international law and human rights. I know that representatives in the Scottish Parliament are unwavering in their commitment to equality and human rights causes throughout the world but this latest error in a series of misjudgements from the First Minister sends a blurred message when an unequivocal one is needed.

"Criticism from the Association of Ukrainians reveals the deep concern with which First Minister's words have been received.

"After bowing to pressure from the Chinese government over the Dalai Lama's visit and now reserving praise for the Russian President, liberal-minded people will want assurances that the First Minister puts human rights before powerful people."