Russia to deprive U.S. diplomats of most privileges
(Pravda.ru – September 11, 2017)
Russia will have to reduce the number of US diplomats by another 155 people to achieve full parity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. However, according to diplomatic sources, other options are being considered as well.
For example, Russia may restrict the number of points, through which US diplomats will be able to enter the territory of the Russian Federation, the Kommersant reports. There are more of such points for US diplomats in Russia, whereas the number of such points for Russian diplomats in the USA is smaller. US diplomats, for instance, may not be allowed to enter Russia in the cities of Sevastopol and Simferopol (the Crimea).
The number of American diplomats, who are allowed to freely travel outside a certain zone around diplomatic missions in Russia is likely to be reduced as well. For the time being, Russian diplomats of junior and middle ranking may freely move inside the USA within a radius of 25 miles (40 km). All diplomats from Russia, of adviser title and above, are allowed to travel across the USA without hindrance.
Similar rules apply to US senior diplomats in Russia. However, there are more of such diplomats in Russia than the number of senior Russian diplomats in the United States. This, according to Moscow, does not correspond to the principle of parity.
Additionally, the Russian authorities may deprive US diplomats of a possibility to park their vehicles on specially designated places in Moscow and other cities of Russia. Interestingly, there is no such possibility provided for Russian diplomats in the United States at all.
On August 29, US authorities decided to close the consulate general of Russia in San Francisco. As soon as the diplomatic mission stopped working, US special services searched the building.
The head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was studying the conditions in which Russian agencies work in the US and vice versa. Russia intends to bring those conditions to full parity, the minister said.
“If they (the Americans) approach parity as a criterion, we are now analysing the conditions, in which US institutions work in Russia, and in which conditions Russian institutions work in the United States. We will bring those conditions in full accord with what is called parity,” Lavrov said at a press conference in the capital of Jordan.
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