September 01, 2017 22:24
Moscow protests against Washington's actions, reserves right to response measures - Russian Foreign Ministry (Part 2)
MOSCOW. Sep 1 (Interfax) - The Russia Foreign Ministry has protested strongly against U.S. actions with respect to Russian diplomatic missions in the country and reserved the right to take response measures.
"We express our vigorous protest of Washington's actions in disregard of international law and, as accepted in diplomatic practice, reserve the right to take response measures. This is not our choice. It is being imposed on us," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement posted on the ministry's website on Friday.
On August 31, the United States announced unprecedented measures to restrict the activities of Russian diplomatic and consular missions in the U.S., Zakharova stated.
"We were required to close, within 48 hours, one of the largest consulates general, the one situated in San Francisco and rendering visa services, notary public services and other consular services to Russian and U.S. nationals residing in several highly populated states. We were also required to immediately cease the activities of the Trade Mission in Washington and its branch in New York. The requirements with respect to travel by Russian diplomats and official delegations have been substantively toughened," Zakharova said.
She characterized the actions as a gross violation of the U.S. obligations under the Vienna Conventions.
"It even goes beyond what Washington was able to conjure up before, including expropriation by the administration of Barack Obama last December, in spite of immunity, of the country residential complexes of Russia's Embassy and permanent mission to the UN," Zakharova said.
Moscow is particularly frustrated by the fact that such measures would affect tens of thousands of ordinary Russians and Americans who are far from politics, she said. "The U.S. is clearly demonstrating that it has absolutely no interest in fostering relations among people: first they stopped issuing visas to Russians at their consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, and now they are depriving Americans of the possibility to get Russian visas in San Francisco," Zakharova said.
"Essentially, it is a continuation of the same line of the Obama administration, whereby, back in 2013, the FBI intimidated U.S. participants of introductory tours to Russia, organized by Rossotrudnichestvo, and, in 2016, the State Department revoked the accreditation of five of our honorable consuls in various states who were actively involved in expanding social exchanges," the ministry said.
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