ST.PETERSBURG, June 19. /TASS/. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has condemned Belgium’s move to seize Russia’s state assets, voicing hope that common sense will prevail in this situation.
"It is unlawful to seize assets," Lavrov said. "The accounts of our embassy in Belgium and those of the mission to the EU and NATO have been frozen, and this is gross violation of all the Vienna conventions on diplomatic relations," he said.
Belgium’s Foreign Ministry had not been aware of these decisions and found out about them after we were informed, Lavrov noted.
"They cite the independence of the judicial system but the judicial system may not be responsible for international commitments of states, it is up to the government, the head of state and the Foreign Ministry," he said.
Lavrov stressed that it is a matter of the Foreign Ministry "to be in charge of commitments as part of those conventions that do not allow claims against the diplomatic property and everything related to it."
Russia’s top diplomat said "there will be reciprocity, of course." "Like in any situation linked to international affairs, reciprocity is positive but in this case, this will be a negative reciprocity," he said.
"We will now first of all have to provide a mirror response to what is done against us," Lavrov explained. "I strongly hope that common sense will prevail at least in regard to the embassy and our diplomatic bodies and we will not have to create a similar situation for Belgium’s embassy in Russia," he added.
"As for the companies with state participation that have also been targeted by these unlawful decisions, then they should challenge them in court. As far as I know, they plan to do so," he said.
Speaking about the similar situation in France, Lavrov said he hopes Russia’s courts will allow the arrest of foreign property with the state participation on the Russian territory.
"I hope that our courts will announce decisions that will allow the Russian state to arrest foreign property on our territory and namely those states that act like this with us," Lavrov said adding that this concerns "property with state participation."
The move to seize Russia’s assets in Belgium came as part of the procedure for enforcing a $50 billion judgement on the case of the now defunct Yukos oil company in July 2014.
The Hague court claimed Russia had breached the Energy Charter Treaty. Moscow, which signed but did not ratify the Energy Charter Treaty, has repeatedly said it categorically disagrees with the Hague tribunal’s ruling.