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Published: Thu, September 14, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Lavrov: More 'Parity' Coming to Diplomatic Offices

Lavrov: More 'Parity' Coming to Diplomatic Offices

Russia will have to reduce the number of USA diplomats by another 155 people to achieve full parity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

All U.S. diplomatic staff are allowed to travel freely within Russian Federation, a privilege Lavrov said was now under consideration.

The US State Department insisted that the move was reciprocal to Moscows decision to cut the number of American diplomatic staff in Russian Federation.

The Kremlin is devising a plan that could slash the size of U.S. Embassy or diplomatic mission operations in Russian Federation, in the latest twist in a sanctions saga dating back to December. This would also be a move toward parity: Low and midlevel Russian diplomats working in the US have a radius of only 25 miles of free movement outside their diplomatic compounds.

Lavrov added that Moscow is now looking at conditions under which the American diplomatic missions operate in Russian Federation, and vice versa. All diplomats from Russian Federation, of adviser title and above, are allowed to travel across the US without hindrance.

Last week, President Vladimir Putin also spoke of disparity between Russian Federation and the United States in the number of their diplomatic staff.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt have broken all diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar, accusing it of financing regional terrorism and for having too close ties to the Arab nations' bitter rival, Iran. This, according to Moscow, does not correspond to the principle of parity. Moscow regards seizure of Russian diplomatic property as an openly hostile act and calls on the U.S. authorities to return these facilities immediately. Interestingly, there is no such possibility provided for Russian diplomats in the United States at all.

On August 31, on the Trump administration cited “the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians” and ordered the Russian Consulate in San Francisco, as well as two trade missions in Washington, DC, and New York City, to close. As soon as the diplomatic mission stopped working, USA special services searched the building.

"We are now studying the conditions in which American foreign missions in Russia and Russian foreign missions in the USA are operating and will make these conditions totally equal", Lavrov stressed.

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