Dialogue between Moscow and Washington on diplomatic personnel “is stalled. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Monday.
“We have a bilateral dialogue with regard to diplomatic personnel, but it’s not moving anywhere. It’s stagnating, by and large,” he said.
“We’ve asked the Americans to match the number of our diplomats in the United States to their institutions here and not to hire hundreds of Russian personnel who perform, in fact, diplomatic functions. We have parity declared now,” the minister recalled.
“They said that they are short of workers, so they are forced to close general consulates and forced to virtually freeze all visa work. This is an attempt of indecent pressure and an attempt to win some unilateral advantages,” Lavrov added.
The Russian Foreign Minister stressed that Russia does not forbid the United States to resume the work of the Consulate General in St. Petersburg, but it will not beg Washington. “We never asked them to close the consulate general as they did. It was their initiative. I don’t know what caused it,” he said. – It’s up to them, we’re not going to beg them to reopen the consulate general here. We have not forbidden them to open this diplomatic mission.
On restrictions on the work of diplomatic missions
In December 2016, at the end of Barack Obama’s second term in office, two Russian diplomatic properties in the United States were seized – country vacation homes in New York and Maryland. On August 31, 2017, under President Donald Trump, the U.S. State Department demanded that Russia close the Consulate General in San Francisco and two trade mission buildings, in Washington and New York.
Russia, for its part, proposed in July 2017 that the U.S. bring the number of diplomatic and technical staff in the two countries’ diplomatic missions to parity, and suspended the U.S. Embassy in Russia from using storage facilities on Dorozhnaya Street in Moscow and a dacha in Serebryany Bor.