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Russia hopes new US envoy to contribute to ties

RUSSIA HOPES NEW US ENVOY TO CONTRIBUTE TO TIES

Russia hopes the new U.S. ambassador to Moscow will help restore bilateral ties, Kremlin spokesman said Tuesday.

"We hope that led by the new ambassador, at least the American diplomatic mission in Moscow will be able to make a substantial contribution to the restoration of our relations from the damage caused by Washington's actions," Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to Russia's official TASS news agency.

Peskov said President Vladimir Putin believed building bilateral ties was not only in the interest of the people of the two countries, but also of the whole world.

"At the same time, he [Putin] repeatedly stressed that, unfortunately, the realization of such intentions alone is impossible without a partner," Peskov was quoted as saying by TASS.

New ambassador Jon Meade Huntsman, 57, presented his credentials to Putin on Tuesday.

During the ceremony in the Alexander Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, Putin said the current level of bilateral relations with the U.S. was not "satisfactory", according to a Kremlin statement.

"We stand for constructive, predictable and mutually beneficial cooperation. We are convinced that at its base there must be strict adherence to the principles of equality, respect of national interests, non-interference in internal affairs," Putin said.

According to TASS, new envoy Huntsman said he would like to restore confidence between Washington and Moscow.

"As the U.S. ambassador to Russia, I intend to work to restore confidence between our countries and strengthen bilateral relations on the basis of cooperation in common interests," Huntsman was quoted as saying.

Ties between Moscow and Washington were strained after the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds in late December 2016 by then-President Barack Obama for Moscow's alleged role in hacking elections to favor the campaign of Donald Trump.

Seven months later, on July 30, Putin said 755 U.S. diplomats would have to leave their positions in the country.

Putin's remarks came three days after the U.S. Senate approved new sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea. The measures were passed by a vote of 98-2 and included sanctions against Russian officials in retaliation for their alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Russia also suspended the U.S. use of a summer residence in Moscow.

Most recently, on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. authorities had "seized the remaining premises of the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco-the residential part of its administrative building, where the offices have been occupied for a month already by American special services, and the separate residence of the Consul General".

Calling the incident "a flagrant violation of international law," a statement said "since last December the Americans have seized by force five Russian diplomatic buildings that are our property. This time the front doors were broken down again and a sweeping search was conducted inside".

"We strongly protest this latest hostile act of the United States and reserve the right to respond. Reciprocity has always been a fundamental principle in diplomacy. As we see it, by breaking in into our foreign offices, the Americans have essentially agreed to the possibility of similar treatment of their representative offices in Russia," it added.

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