United States of America
Communication of the Russian Federation regarding the Secretary-General's report to the UN General Assembly on the agenda item : “Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.”
1. The Russian Federation deems it necessary to draw the attention of the international community to the following deeply disturbing acts of the Government of the United States of America that are incompatible with their international commitments under the UN Charter and universally recognized norms of international diplomatic and consular law, and that call into question the declared commitment of the U.S. to the principles of justice and the rule of law.
2. The U.S. Government referring to its sovereign prerogatives and national law (The Foreign Missions Act of 1982 and the "determinations" of the U.S. Secretary of State adopted on its basis), from December 2016 to April 2018 took a range of provocative, hostile and coercive measures, unprecedented in their scope and cynicism, against a number of Russian official missions, their property, as well as the missions' staff and their family members. The measures sought to expel Russian official missions, the missions' staff and their family members from the premises they occupied on lawful grounds; to cause damage to the sovereign dignity of the Russian Federation and moral damage to the staff of its official missions; to disrupt the normal functioning of the diplomatic missions and consular establishments of the Russian Federation in the U.S.; and to deny the Russian Federation access to the property it used for sovereign purposes.
3. In this context, it is especially remarkable that the aforementioned repressive measures were aimed at the facilities used by the official missions of the Russian Federation to fulfil their functions not only as part of bilateral relations with the U.S. but also with the UN (paragraph 4.2 below), which is incompatible with the functions of the United States as a receiving State of the headquarters of this international organization.
4. The official missions of the Russian Federation and their premises, raided and seized by the U.S. authorities, are listed below.
4.1. The Embassy of the Russian Federation. Part of the Embassy's premises (115 Town Point Lane, Centreville, MD) used for official purposes, protocol events and as a residence of the Embassy's personnel.
4.2. The Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN in New York. Part of the Permanent Mission's premises (136 Mill River Road, Upper Brookville, NY) used for official purposes, protocol events and as a residence of the Permanent Mission's personnel.
The U.S. Department of State informed the Russian Embassy through the notes of December 29, 2016 № 16-2027 and № 16-2057 respectively about the withdrawal of the consent to use the aforementioned facilities for diplomatic purposes; the lifting of all their privileges and immunities; and the denial of access to the aforementioned premises for "any persons, including Russian representatives" with effect from December 30, 2016.
4.3. The Consulate General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco. Administrative and residential building (2790 Green Street, San Francisco, CA) and residence of the Consul General of the Russian Federation (2820 Broadway, San Francisco, CA).
The U.S. Department of State announced through a note of August 31, 2017 № 17-1287 the withdrawal of the consent for the opening and functioning of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco; the lifting of all its immunities with effect from September 2, 2017; demanded to cease – with effect from the same date – all activities of the Consulate General; announced the denial of access to the staff area of the administrative and residential building of the Consulate General for "any persons, including Russian representatives" and the ban on keeping the archives of the diplomatic missions or consular establishments of the Russian Federation in the said premises. With effect from October 1, 2017, the access was also denied to the other premises of the Consulate General, i.e. the residential section of the administrative building and the residence of the Consul General, all immunities of which were lifted from that same date.
4.4. The Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Washington. Administrative building (2001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.). Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement on Trade Relations between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of June 1, 1990, regulating U.S.-Russia relations, the Trade Representation forms part of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington. Its staff and their family members enjoy the status similar to that granted to the equivalent categories of the Embassy's personnel (diplomatic, administrative and technical, and support personnel).
4.5. The Office of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation. Office premises (353 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1500, New York, NY).
The official missions of the Russian Federation, their premises and staff members referred to in paragraphs 4.4. and 4.5., in accordance with the note of the U.S. Department of State № 17-1287, were subject to coercive measures and bans similar to those imposed on the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco (paragraph 4.3.), including deadlines.
4.6. Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Seattle. Office premises (600 University Street, 2510, Seattle, Washington) and residence of the Consul General (3726 East Madison Street, Seattle, Washington). In its note No. 18-439 of 26 March 2018 the U.S. Department of State, in particular, declared the following: the withdrawal of consent to the opening and functioning of the Consulate General, as well as of permission to use the relevant premises for diplomatic/consular purposes, and the lifting of all of their immunities starting at midnight on April 1, 2018 with respect to the premises in University Street and at midnight on April 24, 2018 with respect to the premises in East Madison Street); and the ban on keeping archives of diplomatic missions or consular establishments of the Russian Federation in these premises.
5. The introduction of the above-mentioned restrictive measures, despite protests by the Russian side, was accompanied by forced entry of representatives of the U.S. authorities into the relevant premises (with breaking of locks and disabling of entry gates), conducting searches therein (under the guise of so-called examinations or inspections), as well as engineering works not agreed with the Russian Federation, as a result of which the premises and their furnishings were damaged.
6. The Russian Federation emphasizes that it has legally (under contracts of purchase and sale) the right of ownership of the facilities specified above in paragraphs 4.1., 4.2., 4.3., 4.4. and 4.6. (the building of the residence of the Consul General). In respect of the facilities specified in paragraphs 4.5. and 4.6. (premises in University Street), it also exercised the rights of the tenant on the basis of a private legal contract. In respect of the ancillary land plot at the address specified in paragraph 4.6. – the right of use for a period of 99 years (until 2075).
However, despite protests by the Russian Federation and its regular (every two weeks) requests via diplomatic channels to let Russian representatives examine the above-mentioned premises (including with the aim of preventing the failure of operating systems and holding one-off protocol events), the U.S. Department of State has systematically refused to provide such access to all of the above-mentioned facilities.
Thus, contrary to the notes of the U.S. Department of State that provide for authorization procedures for visits by Russian representatives, the Russian Federation has been completely and for a long time deprived of any possibility of control over these facilities, access to them and the exercise of the powers of the owner (user) in respect of them. At the same time, representatives of the U.S. authorities regularly get access to the premises mentioned, without consent or notification of the Russian Federation. Taking into account the above, it can be stated that the mentioned premises have been seized by the U.S. authorities.
7. Despite protests by the Russian Federation, State flags of the Russian Federation have been removed from all of the above-mentioned premises.
8. There has been a violation of the integrity of the archive of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation containing, among other things, personal data of applicants, U.S. and Russian citizens. Without consent of the Russian Federation that archive was removed from the premises of the Consulate General by the U.S. authorities, packed into boxes by them and shipped to Washington, D.C., to be handed over to the Embassy by the transport company engaged by the U.S. Department of State.
9. The Russian Federation notes that, despite its systematic protests, the U.S. government does not take any measures to end its own unlawful conduct and resolve the situation and, in addition to that, declares "full compliance" of its actions with national legislation and international law. Accordingly, none of the persons involved in the planning, organization or implementation has been held accountable by the U.S. authorities.
10. The Russian Federation also expresses the most serious concern over the fact that the repressive infringements described above, incompatible with the purpose and objectives of the UN Charter, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of April 24, 1963, the U.S.-Russian Consular Convention of June 1, 1964 and the United Nations Headquarters Agreement between the U.S. Government and the UN of June 26, 1947, are based on legally unsubstantiated claims that the receiving State possesses a sole and absolute right to adopt unilateral measures to halt the activities of foreign diplomatic missions and consular establishments, to lift their diplomatic immunities, to impose bans on access of the sending State to the premises and to expel staff members and their family from there, including private residences, under deliberately unacceptable conditions not ensuring even the guarantees that should be provided to the accrediting State in case of war or breach of diplomatic relations. Thus, the very essence of basic institutes of diplomatic and consular law is diluted and rendered meaningless and the fundamental principle of ne impediatur legatio is violated.
11. The Russian Federation strongly protests against such interpretation and application of the above-mentioned international instruments and believes that the consequences of the measures taken by the U.S. authorities, which affect international obligations erga omnes, go way beyond the U.S.‑Russian bilateral relations and are capable of creating an extremely undesirable precedent and causing serious damage to sustainability and stability of the entire system of international relations.
The Russian Federation is convinced that the above actions of the U.S. authorities require strong condemnation by the United Nations.