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Lavrov Demands U.S. Return Russian Property, or It’s Robbery

July 17, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today that it would be a "robbery in broad daylight" if the United States sets conditions for the return of the Russian diplomatic properties it seized.

Lavrov was referring to a RIA Novosti report today which cited an unnamed, high-ranking White House official as saying that the United States is not planning to return the diplomatic property to Russia without asking for "something in return." (original emphasis)

"Is that source [the high-ranking official] anonymous?", Lavrov asked, while speaking to journalists today. "[If] so, I believe that their conscience is not clear.

"As for the issue [not returning the Russian diplomatic property without any preconditions], I consider it a robbery in broad daylight.... It appears some highway thieves are commenting on this situation. How is that property, which was assigned by a bilateral intergovernmental ratified document, can be seized, and then in giving it back, they follow the principle, ‘Mine is mine, and yours will be shared’?"

Lavrov concluded.

Lavrov said he hopes that the Trump administration includes people with logic, who understand that their predecessors in the Obama Administration decided to seize the Russian property, as well as expel 35 Russian diplomats, in a "state of agony." Lavrov said the Obama-led authorities did not know

"how else they could ruin [Moscow’s] relations with Washington in such a way that the Trump AdministRation would fail to restore them.... Such a zealous desire to seek some ‘hidden’ channels of Russian influence on what is happening in the United States is clearly not subsiding, to my great regret, and does not add confidence that we would be able to establish normal cooperation in international relations,"

Lavrov said.