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    State Dept Slows Down Visas Issue for Russian Diplomats - Russian Envoy to US

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russia is working on establishing a high-level group to discuss the business relationship with the United States, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov told reporters.

    "In order to promote the development of mutual trade and investment, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin proposed to create a high-level group in Helsinki that would unite representatives of Russian and American business. Currently, work is underway to implement the initiative," Antonov said on Thursday.

    Antonov added that Russia would like this work to be accomplished as soon as possible.

    However, the US Department of State has slowed down the process of issuing visas to Russian diplomats and even recalls visas, Antonov said.

    "The sanctions policy of the United States has had a very negative impact on issuance of visas to Russian diplomats. Permits for our new employees to enter the United States are processed very badly. The requests for their visas just ‘hang’ in the US embassy, which prevents the normal rotation of staff. There have been cases of revocation already issued visas," Antonov said Thursday. "We will use the principle of reciprocity when issuing visas to Americans."

    Anatoly Antonov told reporters that Russian diplomats plan to visit the US state of Utah in October to promote regional and economic cooperation.

    "In the 20's of October we plan to visit Utah," Antonov said on Thursday. "We'd like to see what can be done for regional and economic cooperation between sister-cities Salt Lake City and Izhevsk, as well as West Jordan and Votkinsk."

    The Russian diplomats will meet with Utah Governor Gary Herbert, businessmen and the heads of economic departments from the state administration, Antonov added.

    Russian Ambassador to the United States also stressed that further sanctions policy would have a negative impact on the US business community.

    "I would like to stress that introducing more and more sanctions against Russia a blind alley," Antonov said. "Our country will withstand any pressure. But US companies will fall victim. At the behest of their Administration, they will lose significant income and their market share in our country."

    READ MORE: Russian Envoy: Historic Endeavours Offer Key to Today's US-Russian Challenges

    Meanwhile, Moscow hopes that Washington will respond positively on the issue of creating a joint counterterrorism working group proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Antonov told reporters.

    "During the summit in Helsinki, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to Donald Trump to re-establish the joint counterterrorism working group," Antonov said on Thursday. "We are hoping for the positive response from the United States."

    Moreover, Moscow wants to discuss the issues of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) and missile defense with the United States and hopes for a positive response from Washington, Antonov pointed out.

    "We hope that Washington will soon determine its approaches to these issues. First of all, on the key disarmament agreements (START treaty and the INF) the deployment of a global midsole defense system and the matter of non-deployment of weapons in outer space," Antonov said Thursday. "Russia expects positive response from the US on holding another round of consultations on strategic stability at level deputy heads of foreign ministries."

    In addition, Russia proposes to renew a comprehensive dialogue on strategic stability and weapons nonproliferation, Antonov said.

    "We believe it is necessary to renew comprehensive dialogue on strategic stability and weapons nonproliferation at the level of deputy heads of foreign ministries," Antonov said Thursday.

    Anatoly Antonov told reporters that current stance of relations between Russia and the United States contradict national and global interests.

    "The relations are at the unprecedentedly low level. We believe it is an anomaly, which is against not just the national interests of the two countries, but contradicts world's interests," Antonov concluded. Antonov noted, however, that Russia has no shortage of plans to enhance bilateral relations, adding that gradual development of smaller projects between the two countries may clear the path to realize more ambitious goals.

    The Russian envoy to the US also said that another important platform in the development of interregional relations is the Fort Ross Dialogue. The name goes back to the historical settlement of Russian pioneers of the 19th century on the territory of present-day California. The event will take place in San Francisco in mid-October. Authorities from Novgorodskaya and Vologodskaya regions plan to take part in the meeting, as well as representatives of Russian Geographic Society.

    READ MORE: Russian Envoy to US Suggests Putin-Trump Summit May Herald New INF Treaty


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