Published: Mon, September 04, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

White House Orders Russia to Close San Francisco Consulate, Other Annexes

White House Orders Russia to Close San Francisco Consulate, Other Annexes

The U.S. State Department on Thursday ordered Russia to close the three facilities by Saturday in retaliation for the Russian decision in July to cut the number of U.S. diplomatic staff by 755 people and seize two U.S. properties in Moscow.

"In spirit of parity, we require #Russia to close its consulate in SF, chancery annex in DC, and consular annex in NYC by Sep".

The State Department said on Thursday the decision was made in response to Moscow's drastic reduction of USA diplomatic personnel in Russian Federation. She added the US hoped both countries could now move toward "improved relations" and "increased cooperation".

The Trump administration described its action as retaliation for the Kremlin's "unwarranted and detrimental" demand in August that the US cut its diplomatic staff in Russian Federation.

"Of course, we can not afford to leave unfriendly, and sometimes hostile steps towards us without retaliation", presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

Personnel working at the targeted facilities may be reassigned to other offices within the Russian mission.

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"We believe (Russia's) action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the U.S. had made its reciprocal move in the "spirit of parity", Efe news reported.

Shortly before he left office, President Obama kicked Russians out of compounds in NY and Maryland in retaliation for what the USA intelligence community concluded was interference in the US presidential election.

"I hope that we do have good relations with Russia", Trump said at a joint press conference with visiting Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

Washington ordered Russian Federation on Thursday to shutter its San Francisco consulate and close offices in Washington and NY.

"President Trump continues to say the same, and President Putin has expressed his interest many times, but this should be a two-way street based on mutual respect".

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin responded by expelling 755 USA diplomats from Russia, a move that was met with deafening silence at first. They are in New York, Seattle and Houston.

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