Russian foreign ministry to sue U.S. over ambassadorial residence debt

Russia is set to apply to the international arbitration over an American debt for renting of the Spaso-House ambassadorial residence. The problem of the debt stays unsettled, and, moreover, the situation has taken on a certain political flavour, Ivan Sergeyev, the deputy foreign minister is quoted by Interfax as saying. In his words, US owes Russia for the Spaso-House over $6m. Mr. Sergeyev reminds that, under a 1985 agreement of renting a mansion with a large plot of land, located in one of Moscow’s central lanes, the American side had to annually pay Russia Rbs72,500. A slump of the rouble in early 1990s turned this amount into a token sum. However, Washington refuses to heed Moscow’s suggestion to change the rate citing the fact that nder the agreement the rent to be paid was not pegged to hard currency. In 1993, the Americans ceased altogether to pay the rent, and the Russian side rescinded the agreement. The US later resumed payments, but the money would not be accepted. Also, the US tried to turn the compound into its possession, but, according to Mr. Sergeyev, such a scenario is absolutely out of the question.