US Orders Russia to Close Consulate in SF by Saturday

Leaving both countries with 3 consulates each
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2017 12:25 PM CDT
US Orders Russia to Close Consulate in SF by Saturday
This Aug. 10, 2017, photo shows the Consulate-General of Russia in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The press statement's title—"Achieving Parity in Diplomatic Missions"—may seem bland, but the message from the State Department is anything but: It explains the United States has ordered Russia to close a consulate in San Francisco and diplomatic annexes in New York and Washington by Saturday. The New York Times frames the moves as an "expected ... tit-for-tat response" after Russia forced a cut in US embassy staff in late July. Indeed, the AP notes Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said the US would respond by September. "We believe [Russia's] action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries," and the Trump administration is making the move "in the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians," per the statement. Once the closures are complete, each country will have three operating consulates remaining.

The remainder of the statement: "While there will continue to be a disparity in the number of diplomatic and consular annexes, we have chosen to allow the Russian Government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship. The United States hopes that, having moved toward the Russian Federation's desire for parity, we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both of our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern. The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted." (Read more Russia stories.)

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