FORUM

Russia Not Expecting Progress At talks With U.S. On Visas, Diplomats -Agencies

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Russia on Saturday said it does not expect progress in talks in the coming weeks with the United States on issues including visas and the size and functioning of their embassies, Russian news agencies reported.

With ties already at post-Cold War lows, Moscow and Washington are in a dispute over the number of diplomats they can post to each other’s countries, though Russia has said it was willing to lift restrictions imposed in recent years.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Saturday said recent contacts with Washington had simply involved the two sides repeating their previously stated positions, but that a new round of talks in a third country would take place in the coming weeks.

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“There is no progress and, it seems, none is expected,” Interfax cited Ryabkov as saying.

Russia and the United States failed to make major headway on the embassies dispute during a visit to Moscow last month by U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.

The U.S. State Department is getting to the point of being able to maintain only a “caretaker presence” in Russia, a senior department official said in late October, with just 120 staff at the embassy in Moscow.

Russia has just over 400 diplomats in the United States, including its delegation to the United Nations in New York, the U.S. official said.

“The Americans need to simply increase the number of their staff in Russia to restore normal consular and visa services,” Ryabkov said on Saturday.

TASS cited Ryabkov as saying that the next round of U.S.-Russia talks on strategic stability could take place in January.

Reuters

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