17 August 201813:02

Russian Foreign Ministry Note to the United States Department of State of 7 August , 2018

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation presents its compliments to the Department of State of the United States of America and herewith has the honor to declare protest in connection with continuing breach of international law by the United States with regard to the diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Russian Federation (their offices) and their premises in the territory of the Unites States of America (Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Seattle, the states of Maryland and New York; hereinafter referred to as the Russian Missions), which were subject to measures imposed by the Department of State, purporting to terminate the status of the Russian Missions and to deny the use of and even access of Russian representatives to the Russian Missions.

1. The Ministry is deeply concerned about abovementioned measures of the U.S. authorities leading to the negative consequences going far beyond the intergovernmental relations between the Russian Federation and the United States of America, and undermining the principle of sovereign equality of States and international cooperation for the goal of fostering friendly relations between nations and strengthening universal peace.

2.  The Ministry reiterates that it does not accept the unilateral actions of the U.S. authorities and does not deem justified or lawful those actions or the claims that the Russian Missions were closed allegedly in a proper way in conformity with the applicable international rules, as these actions flagrantly violate the immunity and inviolability of the aforementioned Russian Missions and in many cases constitute insurmountable obstacles for their operation.

3.  The Ministry emphasizes that the U.S. authorities with reference to the Foreign Missions Act intentionally chose such a "procedure" to implement the aforementioned measures against the Russian Missions, staff and their families that excluded any opportunity to orderly manage within a reasonable timeframe the whole range of issues related to the closure of the Russian Missions (including the  removal of property and archives and accommodation of staff and their families) or significantly complicated this process. As a result, the actions of U.S. authorities, inter alia, created obstructions to the normal function of the operating Russian Missions.

The Ministry notes that practical implementation of these measures was unprecedented and accompanied by unauthorized intervention of the U.S. authorities to the premises of the Russian Missions, arbitrary removal of the state flag of the Russian Federation, and breach of the inviolability of their archives.

The Ministry also states that despite the systematic protests of the Russian Federation such repressive infringements, which are incompatible with the obligations of the United States under the UN Charter, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 24 April 1963, the Russian – United States Consular Convention of 1 June 1964, Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations of 13 February 1946 and the Agreement between the United Nations and the USA  regarding the Headquarters of the UN of 26 June 1947, have not ceased so far.

The Russian Federation was therefore forced to take reciprocal measures against a number of the U.S. facilities in the Russian territory that the Russian Federation would prefer to avoid under other circumstances. The Ministry notes that these measures have not been, nevertheless, fully symmetrical so far - because the Russian Federation has not purported to terminate the status of U.S. diplomatic or consular mission premises and has not interfered with the immunities and inviolabilities to which such premises are entitled - and reserves the right to adopt additional countermeasures if the United States continues its violations.

4. Today it is also evident that the United States are conducting a manifest and flagrant violation of its obligations under international law as a host country of the United Nations before the Organization and the Russian Federation as its Member State, inter alia, by violating inviolability and blocking a part of the premises of the Russian Federation’s Permanent Mission to the UN.

In so doing the U.S. authorities pointedly ignore the obligations arising out of the aforementioned Convention of 13 February 1946, Agreement of 26 June 1947, as well as the decisions concerning the Russian Permanent Mission’s premises adopted by the Host Country Committee and the UN General Assembly (resolution 72/124, para. 3). In particular, despite the prohibition imposed by the UN General Assembly of  bringing bilateral agenda  in  the process of ensuring normal operation of the Member States’ missions to the United Nations, the U.S. authorities irresponsibly carry on their unlawful behavior that has already become a matter of serious concern in the UN.

5. The Ministry also reaffirms that it considers categorically unacceptable and unlawful that the receiving State's authorities completely and indefinitely deny the opportunity for the sending State (and its authorized representatives) to exercise its legal ownership rights for the respective premises and property therein. The Ministry believes that such repressive measures are equivalent in their character and consequences to the confiscation and seizure of the abovementioned property used by the sending State for sovereign purposes.

6.  The Ministry also notes that the staff of the Russian Missions and their families, which were in effect expelled in short order, had left their personal belongings in the premises of the Russian Missions, which are still there.

In this regard the Ministry requests the Department of State to give the interested persons (from among the staff of the respective Russian Missions and their families) the access to the abovementioned premises to get their belongings back.

7.  In view of the above, the Ministry cannot be satisfied with the notes of the Department of State that continuously, categorically and unfoundedly deny Russia's numerous requests for access to the premises of the Russian Missions.

The Ministry, in particular, does not consider it possible to accept the formal assurances of the Department of State that it takes "reasonable measures to safeguard the security and safety of the property", bearing in mind, inter alia, that even safeguarding the security and safety of the property arbitrarily and unlawfully seized violates the right to private property, as the proprietor is illegitimately deprived of its rights and powers to possess, use and dispose of the mentioned property.

In light of systematic refusal of the U.S. authorities to provide an access to the abovementioned premises to the Russian representatives the Ministry has the honor to demand the Department of State to provide the Russian Side with full information on:

(а)   measures that the U.S. authorities had assured were taken to safeguard the security and safety of the property during the previous period;

(b)   current status of the respective buildings and structures, furnishings and interior design items, the land parcels around these facilities, their utility systems, etc.;

(с)   any modifications since the forced closure of the respective Russian Missions that have been made in their premises without unequivocal consent of the Russian Federation – as a sovereign and the owner of these premises – especially, whether such measures could affect the consumer properties or market value of respective property;

(d)   a complete list of individuals (indicating the names, job titles, and purpose of their visits) who since the forced closure of the respective Russian Missions have entered the premises without the consent of the Russian Federation, as well as the grounds for such an invasion of the territory of the Russian Missions against the will of their owner;.

 (e) use of the premises of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations by United States’ authorities, that follows from bills for water- and electricity supply provided to these objects.

The Ministry would also highly appreciate if the Department of State provided information on the requisites and substance of the legal instruments adopted under the Foreign Mission Act according to which the Department of State implemented the so-called "reasonable measures to safeguard the security and safety" of the Russian Missions.

The Ministry avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Department of State of the United States of America the assurances of its highest consideration.


Moscow, “7” August 2018

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