Tag Archives: US Embassy

Moscow to Washington – ‘quid pro quo’

Kremlin has been actively preparing a response to the highly probable sanctions from the US awaited by the end of this week. According to Kommersant newspaper sources, the Foreign Ministry suggested the Russian authorities seizure of  the summer residence of the American Embassy in woodland ‘Serebryany Bor’ (‘Silver forest’), situated on artificial island of Moskwa river, and their storage facilities. This will be a symmetrical response to the arrest imposed on Russian diplomatic property in the US by the previous administration.

In addition, 35 American diplomats can be expelled from the country – the same number of staff of the Russian Embassy in Washington was ordered to leave the US in December last year. Also, the Russian side is considering the possibility of limiting the maximum number of employees of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow, currently exceeding the number of Russians in the embassy in Washington.

“Kommersant” also describes possible asymmetric economic measures.

Kremlin can create complications for the United States in the UN Security Council, where the States are seeking to increase pressure on North Korea.

Moscow’s economic sanctions against Washington can be expressed in direct circumcision of trade turnover, restrictions on the work of American companies in the country and some form of withdrawal of investments already made by them in Russia.

Possible restrictions on the part of exports from Russia to the United States may be quite sensitive, but with no less serious adverse effect.

Kommersant points out that the United States has been critically dependent on deliveries of a Russian enriched uranium product for its nuclear power plants over the last decades. Since 2015, the supplies have gone through direct commercial contracts with US energy companies and Russia has received a quota of 20% of the market. The possible halt of supplies will hurt both sides: the US will have to seek replacement of the Russian deliveries in the market with a small number of players, and Russia to quickly find a replacement for American buyers.

Another double-edged area is the supply of titanium. The US remains the main export market for Russian VSMPO-AVISMA, the world’s largest titanium producer operating in business with aerospace companies around the world. In 2016 the country provided the company with 32% of shipments and 48% of export sales. It is Russia that covers more than a third of the needs of the aircraft-building  Boeing.

Even stronger economic impact can be caused by the limitation of the work of American companies in Russia. They are most widely represented in the consumer market and in IT.  Moscow has already successfully tested in the case of Europe. American Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are the absolute leaders in the production of soft drinks: companies in Russia have their own plants for the production of soda and juices. No less popular in Russia are American IT companies Google, Facebook, Apple, Adobe and Microsoft. Also, the ban can affect the pharmaceutical  market.

The US Congress announced that the upper house – the Senate – could vote on the draft law on sanctions until the end of this week.

US Embassy to stay in Tel-Aviv

The US President Donald trump has signed the waiver keeping the United States embassy in Tel Aviv avoiding a controversial move to Jerusalem, at least for the moment, The Hills newspaper reported.

The White House said that Trump signed the order to allow negotiations between Israel   and the Palestinians to resume.

A White House statement said that Trump had not departed from his original plan to move the US embassy  from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He has since, however, stalled on his pledge.

The president began backing away from moving the embassy when King Abdullah II of Jordan flew to Washington, DC,  to explain to the White House why the move might not be such a good idea, the Times reported.



Explosion in US Embassy in Kiev

A device exploded in the U.S. embassy compound in Ukraine’s capital Kiev (pictured) in the early hours of Thursday, injuring no one, police said.

An attacker threw the device over the embassy’s fence just after midnight, police added, calling it a terrorist act. The Embassy staff is unharmed, no physical damage reported.



Deadline to USA 'political' ambassadors


The politically appointed US ambassadors are denied the extension of their mandate beyond the inauguration day 20/01/2016, according to the State department sources in Washington DC.

The decision of the president-elect Donald Trump to accelerate the process of
political change in the US corps-diplomatique  is not surprising to independent experts,
pointing at the necessity of moving rapidly altering  policies of the previous administration from one hand,  and personal dynamic, ‘no nonsense’ style of Mr.Trump from the other.
Usually the rotations of political appointees have been performed in more relaxed fashion, and those who have schoolchildren could wait until the end of the semester.
However worldwide the US diplomats are used to political rotations, and embassies highly skilled stuff is perfectly capable to carry out their mission awaiting a new head without any visible frictions.
The other element that makes Trump’s move logical is the concept of ambassadors serving ‘at pleasure of the President’, meaning that any US top diplomat can be given a notice at any time.
Apparently, the memo was sent around before Christmas, meaning that the diplomats had a month for practical arrangements.
The measure concerns ‘political’ ambassadors, who have close ties with Obama administration  and are chosen for their merits, often expressed in contributing in financial terms as donors to presidential camp.
Finally the rejection of ‘grace’ in form of postponing the departure indicates the intention of Trump’s administration to take a ‘vertical start’ to commence the fulfilment of the election programme without delay, including the foreign policy areas.
The EU had already experienced lengthy periods of work with the US Embassy in absentia of ambassador, who had to pass a procedure of the Senate approval after the President’s appointment, while the career diplomats carried out their mission with excellence, widely admitted in Brussels. This time there are no signs of immediate departure of Amb. Anthony Luzzatto Gardner, how is not a ‘political’ appointee,  but a career diplomat, leading the US Mission to the EU from 2013, and  as a major goal  pursuing an objective to conclude the Transatlantic Trade and Investment partnership (TTIP).
(Source: AFP, NYT)
Illustration: president-elect Donald Trump at White House with presidnet Barak Obama
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