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US agents deny Russian diplomats access to remove archive from San Francisco consulate

October 24, 2017, 1:20 UTC+3

The US authorities independently packed and removed it to Washington, according to the Russian embassy in the United States

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© AP Photo/Eric Risberg

WASHINGTON, October 24. /TASS/. US authorities prohibited Russian diplomats from entering the building of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco to remove the consular archive, the Russian embassy in the United States said on its website on Monday.

"The US authorities did not give us access to the building of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, that was closed by their decision on September 2, in order to take away the consular archive. Instead they independently packed and removed it to Washington," the statement said.

The diplomatic mission noted that this was done "regardless of repeated protests of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the embassy."

On October 23, the archive was moved to the Russian embassy.

The statement stresses that "consular archives and documents are inviolable at any time and regardless of their whereabouts."

"By its actions, the US party once again grossly violated the relevant provisions of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the bilateral consular convention," the Russian embassy said.

"The official Washington's contemptuous attitude to the international law, our diplomatic and consular facilities and property has opened the possibility of similar dealing with US missions in Russia. That is in accordance with the principle of mutuality, diplomatic relations are based on," the Russian diplomatic mission concludes.

On September 3, the US closed the Russian trade mission in Washington and its branch in New York. It also demanded that the Consulate General in San Francisco should stop its activities and free the residence of the Consul General in that city. The US authorities gave Moscow time until October 1 to ensure that employees of the Consulate General in San Francisco were able to pack their things. The US administration believes that those facilities are no longer subject to diplomatic immunity. Nevertheless, they are still the property of Russia, with the exception of the branch of the trade mission in New York, which was on lease.

These facilities actually passed under control of the Diplomatic Security Service of the US State Department and its department of foreign missions.

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