14:54 GMT +318 November 2019
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    Visa Issue for US Teachers in Moscow May Be Resolved Before New School Year - State Dept.

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States hopes the issue of obtaining Russian visas for teachers of the Anglo-American school in Moscow can be resolved before the beginning of the new school year, a US Department of State spokesperson said on Friday.

    "We hope this issue can be resolved before the start of the school year so all the children can continue their studies," the State Department spokesperson said.

    On Tuesday, US media reported that Russia had denied visas to 30 teachers or one-fifth of the teaching staff at the Anglo-American School in Moscow. The school was created by the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada in 1949 and serves some 1,200 pupils.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday dismissed the US media allegations as a "blatant lie."

    Also on Wednesday, Russian Ambassador in Washington Anatoly Antonov told reporters that Russia is prepared to issue visas to teachers from the United States at any time, but seeks reciprocity from Washington.

    The State Department spokesperson said that Russia is politicising a non-profit educational institution that serves not only the diplomatic corps and international business community in Russia, but also many Russian families and their children.

    "The Russian government has a long-standing requirement that Anglo American School teachers travel to Russia on diplomatic visas," the spokesperson said. "Similarly, teachers at the Russian Embassy in Washington travel to the United States on diplomatic visas. Several years ago the Ministry required the Anglo American School teachers receive their diplomatic visas in diplomatic passports."

    The spokesperson said the Anglo American school in Moscow is a "well-established and well-respected institution," and emphasized that the issue of visas is "clearly not a bilateral issue."

    On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had summoned the US Embassy Political Section head Tim Richardson to express a strong protest over statements by US officials and media that Russia allegedly denied visas to employees of the Anglo-American School in Moscow.

    The Foreign Ministry said US teachers have been sent to Russia as embassy employees with diplomatic passports although the school operates as a commercial enterprise. The ministry added that Russia had repeatedly asked the United States to discuss the situation and bring the school's status and the teachers' visas in line with regulations as well as resolve the issue on the basis of reciprocity, but the United States has failed to engage in dialogue.

    The Foreign Ministry also said Washington had deliberately created a deadlock situation to invent another scandal involving Russia.


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