Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

France

'Tug-of-love' mother and daughter not in Russia, says diplomat

Latest update : 2009-03-23

A Russian mother and her three-year-old child Elise, who was snatched from her father's care in southern France, are not in Russia, according to a French diplomat in Moscow. France has initiated a continent-wide search for the girl.

AFP - A Russian mother and three-year-old daughter who went missing in France in a "tug-of-love" dispute with the girl's French father are not on Russian territory, a French diplomat told AFP on Sunday.
   
"The latest information is that they are not on Russian territory," the diplomat at France's embassy in Moscow said, quashing reports the mother and daughter had flown to the Russian capital.
   
France has initiated a continent-wide search for the girl, Elise, after she was snatched on Friday by two men and a woman while being collected from school by the father, Jean-Michel Andre, who was beaten in the incident.
   
The father had himself snatched the girl from a street in Moscow last year after the mother, Irina Belenkaya, had taken the daughter from him against his will.
   
In an interview with AFP after Friday's disappearance, Andre said he was "certain" that the third person in the team that snatched his daughter -- a woman dressed in black and wearing a wig -- was his estranged wife.
   
Earlier on Saturday, French police said the suspected kidnappers and the girl had boarded a plane bound for Moscow from Switzerland.
   
But the father later said he had been shown the documents of the travellers thought to be the kidnappers and his daughter and they did not match.
   
The French prosecutor in the case, Antoine Paganelli, also voiced doubts.
   
Russian media have noted it is the latest in a series of such custody disputes between French men who have married Russian women, one of which was even discussed by then presidents Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac in 2000.
   
In Saturday's interview with AFP, Andre said he had managed to spirit Elise out of Russia in 2008 after she was taken there by her mother and vowed he was ready to do so again, even though he is subject to a Russian arrest warrant.
   
"I will go to Moscow. I will bring her back.... She is my daughter," said Andre, who also appeared on television covered in bruises and with one of his eyes half-closed as a result of his beating.
   
"If I enter Russia now it would be suicide. You saw what happened to me yesterday," he said. "I have to enter under a false name with a false passport," he told AFP in the interview.
   
While there was no sign of Belenkaya in Moscow, she too in the past has not been shy of putting her side of the story before the public.
   
In an appearance on a Russian television chat-show after she lost her daughter last year, she said: "Judging from the father's behaviour, it's completely clear that this man has a maniacal attachment to the child that has absolutely nothing to do with a father's love for his child but with other feelings."
 

Date created : 2009-03-22

COMMENT(S)