The United States has ordered the closure of San Francisco consulate of Russia by the September 2, 2o17. The State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has confirmed this in a statement.
Referring to the Russian expulsion of US diplomats from RussiaState Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday that, “We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries.”
“In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians, we are requiring the Russian Government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, DC, and a consular annex in New York City,” Nauert said.
“These closures will need to be accomplished by September 2.”
Washington said last week that, in the wake of reduction of officials in Russia, the U.S. would scale back visa services that might sharply hit Russians traveling U.S. for business, studies and the tourists.
The Russian consulate office in San Francisco takes serves seven western U.S. states.
There are three other Russian consulate offices in the U.S. They are in Houston, Seattle, and New York.
When did all of it begin?
The U.S.-Russian diplomatic rift came to light after the former president Barack Obama ordered some Russian diplomats to leave the U.S.
Being asked by a journalist if it is the U.S. who started the rift in last December, a U.S. senior administration official said, “It had to do with harassment of our diplomats and interference in our domestic affairs, in our elections. So I think those actions spoke for themselves.”
By the end of July, Russia ordered dismissal of 755 U.S. diplomatic personnel from Russia. The Russian foreign minister demanded reduction of US diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people.
Later President Putin confirmed, “I decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything unanswered.” Putin said, “The personnel of the US diplomatic missions in Russia will be cut by 755 people and will now equal the number of the Russian diplomatic personnel in the United States, 455 people on each side.”
A senior U.S. administration official explained the whole thing in a televised interview with the press on August 31.
He said, “Although we believe that Russia’s decision to limit the size of our mission was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries, I can confirm that we have implemented the decision.”
The administration official added, “Today we informed the Russian Government that in the spirit of parity, which was the principle that they invoked in insisting that we reduce the size of our mission, we will reduce – we will require the closure of the Russian consulate general in San Francisco.”
The order of closure, however, covers more than the San Francisco consulate. He said, “We will require that they close a chancery annex in Washington, D.C. and a consular annex in New York City. These closures must be completed by September 2nd.”
Moscow regrets the escalation:
In response to the U.S. orders, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia “will closely study the new measures announced by the Americans, after which our reaction will be conveyed”.
In a phone conversation with the U.S. Secretary of the State Rex Tillerson, Mr. Lavrov expressed regret about “the escalation of tensions” between the countries.