Rus­sia de­mands US re­turn diplo­mat com­pounds be­fore any talks

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Moscow, Rus­sia - The Krem­lin on Mon­day said Wash­ing­ton must un­con­di­tion­ally re­store its ac­cess to diplo­matic com­pounds in the United States ahead of high-level talks on the is­sue.

Rus­sia is an­gry that Wash­ing­ton is still bar­ring its diplo­mats from us­ing two com­pounds in the states of New York and Mary­land af­ter then pres­i­dent Barack Obama in De­cem­ber or­dered the ban on ac­cess in re­sponse to sus­pected Rus­sian med­dling in the US elec­tion.

“We con­sider it ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able to place con­di­tions on the re­turn of diplo­matic prop­erty, we con­sider that it must be re­turned with­out any con­di­tions and talk­ing,” Krem­lin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told jour­nal­ists.

He spoke as Thomas Shan­non, the US State Depart­ment’s thirdin-com­mand, was set to host Rus­sia’s deputy for­eign min­is­ter Sergei Ryabkov in Wash­ing­ton later on Mon­day.

Diplo­mats quoted by Rus­sian news agen­cies said the is­sue of the res­i­den­tial com­plexes would be on their agenda. The talks be­tween Shan­non and Ryabkov were ear­lier sched­uled for June but Rus­sia can­celled them, cit­ing new US sanc­tions linked to the con­flict in Ukraine.

When Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and US coun­ter­part Don­ald Trump met for the first time at the G20 sum­mit in Ham­burg this month, Putin raised the ques­tion ‘quite un­am­bigu­ously’, Peskov said. He added that ‘we still hope our Amer­i­can col­leagues will show po­lit­i­cal wis­dom and po­lit­i­cal will’.

Obama an­nounced the US was shut­ting down res­i­den­tial com­plexes in De­cem­ber at the same time as he ex­pelled 35 Rus­sian diplo­mats for spy­ing. He said the mea­sures were in re­sponse to US in­tel­li­gence re­ports of Rus­sian hack­ing to sway the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

At the time Putin held off from re­tal­i­at­ing, say­ing he would wait to see how Trump re­acted af­ter he came into the White House.

But hope that Trump will soon fol­low up on cam­paign pledges to boost re­la­tions have fiz­zled as any ties to Moscow have be­come toxic for the White House amid a mael­strom of US in­ves­ti­ga­tions into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween Rus­sia and the Trump cam­paign.

Now Rus­sia has de­cided to ratchet up threats that it could be­lat­edly take re­venge by block­ing a coun­try house and a stor­age fa­cil­ity used by the US Em­bassy in Moscow.

Dmitry Peskov

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Oman

© PressReader. All rights reserved.