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Russia retains right to reciprocal moves if US declines to return compounds — speaker

July 12, 17:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

On July 11, Sergey Lavrov expressed hope that the United States would respect its international commitments over the Russian diplomatic mansions

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A fence encloses an estate in the village of Upper Brookville in the town of Oyster Bay, on Long Island, after the Obama administration closed this compound for Russian diplomats

A fence encloses an estate in the village of Upper Brookville in the town of Oyster Bay, on Long Island, after the Obama administration closed this compound for Russian diplomats

© AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan

MOSCOW, July 12. /TASS/. Russia hopes a diplomatic solution will be found to the issue with its diplomatic property seized in the US under the Obama administration, but Moscow has a right for an adequate response, Speaker of the Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Valentina Matviyenko told reporters on Wednesday.

"We are seeking to find a diplomatic solution to this issue, but if that fails to be done, we would have every right to provide an appropriate response, proceeding from the practice of international relations," Matviyenko said.

"The thing the United States did (seized our diplomatic compounds) is a gross violation of international law and of all conventions on diplomats’ status," she note. "Naturally, these actions cannot be left unanswered."

"We have enough patience. We demonstrate it so as to persuade the US to amend the situation and get it back to the legal field," the speaker said, reminding that the two countries had been holding talks on the issue and a meeting between Russian and US diplomats was expected to take place in the near future.

In late December 2016, the Barack Obama administration slapped new sanctions on Russia declaring 35 staff members of the Russian Embassy in Washington and the Consulate General in San Francisco persona-non-grata and closing two Russian compounds in the States of New York and Maryland. The Russian personnel’s access to these compounds was barred. Washington linked these sanctions to cyber attacks against US political institutions, blaming Russia for carrying out these attacks.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier that these facilities had always had diplomatic immunity, so their seizure was a gross violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed hope that the United States would respect its international commitments over the Russian diplomatic mansions. He added that if not so, Moscow would take tit-for-tat measures in response. On Wednesday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow expected Washington to demonstrate political will in order to solve the issue with the Russian diplomatic mansions seizure in the US.

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