MOSCOW, September 1. /TASS/. Washington’s decision to close the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco cannot in any way be described as a return to parity and Russia should work towards attaining symmetry of the exchanges of ‘diplomatic niceties’ with the U.S., says Russian senator Konstantin Kosachov, the chairman of the foreign policy committee in the upper house of Russian parliament.
"By taking this decision, the U.S. officials create practical problems for many residents of San Francisco and the consular district (that embraces several states), who used its services," Kosachov wrote in Facebook. "What’s to be done? In case of an exchange of diplomatic niceties it’s important to work towards full symmetry, and if the staff of our Consulate General in San Francisco has to return home, the Americans should be told to send off an equal number of diplomats."
"Alternative number two is to distribute the Russian diplomats from the ‘slashed Consulate’ to other Russian legations in the U.S.," Kosachov said.
"Symmetric steps can be taken as regards the U.S. diplomatic missions in Russia and the issuance of (Russian) visas (to Americans)," he said, adding that a response on other pressing issues should not necessarily be symmetric.
He recalled in this connection that Russia had not responded yet to the recent tough sanction law adopted in the U.S.
"I feel confident a response is needed and I’ll repeat it can be an asymmetric one - but it should any way be stinging," Kosachov said.