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Monday, March 19, 2018

Lavrov spoke about the response to Washington: what will the diplomatic war

The views of Moscow and Washington on the concept of diplomatic parity once again did not agree. First, the Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia could further reduce the staff of American diplomats in our country. Later, the US state Department, in turn, expressed confidence that diplomatic parity with Moscow has already been reached and there is no need further to cut the number of consulates and the Embassy staff. Experts believe that the exchange of unfriendly steps can last almost indefinitely. At what stage the parties decide?

photo: Gennady Cherkasov

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that Russia has decided to equalize the number of Russian and American diplomats, she deliberately included in the list of employees of diplomatic mission in the United States those attached to the UN. Lavrov described the move as a “good will”.

“Strictly speaking, if we talk about parity, it’s not 455 diplomats in Moscow, and minus 155, – said earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit in early September. – So we reserve the right to make a decision and that the number of American diplomats in Moscow, but we don’t do that, let’s see how the situation will develop further”. These statements were made in response to the closure of the Consulate General of Russia in San Francisco.

The U.S. state Department, in turn, believes that Russia and the United States are already close to parity, so “there should be no further action from both sides.”

Recall that the current diplomatic war between Russia and the United States began in December last year, when the Obama administration decided to send 35 employees of the Russian Embassy and to seize two diplomatic villas. However, the Kremlin’s reaction followed much later, when it had adopted new anti-Russian sanctions: in July, Moscow has demanded from the USA to reduce the number of its diplomats to 455. Just as many of their Russian colleagues were by that time in the United States. The response to these actions by the state Department closed the Consulate General of Russia in San Francisco. Thus, America and Russia were equally diplomats and consulates. However, Russia seems willing to go further.

“If such a reduction (from Moscow) happens, then the Americans with the big share of probability will hold similar reductions noted in the comment “MK” Deputy General Director of the Center for political technologies, Alexei Makarkin. — They do not want not to consider the Russian diplomats accredited to the United Nations. Thus, in the worst case, you can come to a situation when there will be one Ambassador. But this is just ridiculous. It is no coincidence that Russia in fact has now taken a time-out. She makes statements, but real steps are taken. Because if you reduce staff, American diplomats, it will hurt quite diverse interests of Moscow in America. So now on further steps will be very seriously to reflect, and I do not exclude that there will be an asymmetric solution, as symmetric steps can be ineffective.

Why both sides behave this way? Trump can not give up. Any concession will be perceived with suspicion. And so accused that he was too close to Russia that the representatives of his entourage spoke with Russian diplomats. In fact, the political class of America is almost entirely in favour of a tough stance against Russia. Trump, as President, can not ignore it.

Russia also suffered the syndrome of exaggerated expectations. There were hopes that with the new American administration will be able to negotiate. The fact that this has not happened, led to disappointment. Besides, we have always believed that with Republicans it is easier to negotiate than the Democrats. Now there is a situation that seems to have won the “right” Republicans. But suddenly it turned out a very simple thing: of course, in America there are people who stand for good relations with Russia. However, they do not affect the political decision-making. Probably this awareness led to the current position of Russia. It’s disappointing, but not specific persons, and the ability to build relationships with any representatives of the American political class.”


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