United States forces closure of Russia's San Francisco consulate, 2 other diplomatic properties

01 September 2017, 01:37 | Isaac Mcdaniel

State Department orders Russia to close San Francisco consulate

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"In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians", the State Department's spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said in a statement, the United States would require Russia to close the three offices by Saturday.

In July, the Russian Foreign Ministry ordered the United States cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by almost half and announced it would seize two U.S. diplomatic properties in response to expanded sanctions passed by Congress.

Still, Mr Tillerson says it is unacceptable for two major nuclear powers to remain in such a continuous state of tension, and insists the USA wants to improve relations.

The US state department ordered Russian Federation to close three of its buildings in the US, including its consulate in San Francisco. The East Coast properties housed Russian trade missions, the State Department said.

"We waited for a rather long time, thinking that things might improve, nourished the hope that the situation would change somehow", Mr Putin said in an interview with Russian state television in July. The US staff have till Friday to leave the country. Visa processing was due to resume at the Moscow embassy on Friday but at a reduced pace - and it will remain suspended at the US consulates in three other Russian cities. That action was taken following harassment of USA diplomats in Russia, as well as Russian interference in the US presidential election.

The US is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted, Nauert warned.

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Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a read-out of the call late Wednesday that both Lavrov and Tillerson condemned North Korea for firing a midrange ballistic missile Japan earlier this week and called for dialogue. That demand, made at the end of July, had a September 1 deadline.

Russia has said its initial move to expel American diplomats was retaliation to former President Barack Obama's decision to expel 30 Russian diplomats and their families and take control of two facilities that were allegedly used for spying - a decision made in response to Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"Right now we need to calmly examine (this situation)".

"As Lenin said, hysterical impulses are of no use to us".

The United States said Thursday it scaled back its staffing at Russia's request, albeit begrudgingly.

His predecessor, Sergei Kislyak, made headlines after it emerged that he met with several Trump associates prior to the president's inauguration in January.

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