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Norwegian diver chief criticises Russia bureaucracy

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OSLO, Aug 21 (Reuters) — The Norwegian military commander of divers trying to open the stricken Russian submarine complained on Monday that Russian bureaucracy had delayed rescue work on the Kursk, feared to be a grave for its 118 crew.

"It's going a little slowly. There is some bureaucracy in this," Rear Admiral Einar Skorgen, heading a 12-strong team of Norwegian and British divers, told Norwegian NRK radio.

"There are a lot of people taking part in the decision- making process and some of them might not have the professional qualifications to understand the consequences of the decisions they think should be made," Skorgen added.

But he said that all sides were aware that quick decisions were necessary.

He had also grumbled on Sunday that some time had been wasted in the operation to open the crippled submarine on the bed of the Barents Sea despite scant hopes of finding anyone alive more than a week after the accident.

"This is a Russian rescue operation where we are helping. Progress could have been faster if it had been different and we could have made decisions," he said.