Poland says it will match Russia's diplomatic hostility

AP News
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Posted: Mar 18, 2015 2:54 PM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland will reciprocate if Russia continues to bill for Poland's diplomatic buildings in Russia, the foreign minister said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna spoke after the Arbitration Court in St. Petersburg allowed bailiffs to evict Poland's consulate there, saying Poland owes some $1 million in rent.

The decision is seen as part of growing tensions between Poland and Russia over Moscow's role in the conflict in Ukraine.

Poland has protested the court's decision, saying diplomatic premises have immunity and noting that Russia is using about a dozen buildings in Poland rent-free.

A few years ago Poland cancelled a communist-era agreement regulating mutual use of diplomatic premises, saying that Russia was not observing it. Warsaw is urging new negotiations to obtain full reciprocity but there has been no progress.

Schetyna said if Russia continues to bill Poland it will "receive the same treatment from the Polish side."

"Russia's overdue rent is much, much higher than that of the Polish consulate in St. Petersburg," he said.