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Russia hopes USAID closure not to affect ties with U.S.

09-22-2012 06:52 BJT

MOSCOW, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Russiasaid Friday it hoped the shutdown of the United StatesAgency for International Development (USAID) in the country would not undermine bilateral relations with the United States.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who attended the Sept. 19-20 Russia-U.S. Pacific Partnership annual meeting in Washington, expressed the hope that the decision would "not affect the prospects of the equal and mutually respectful cooperation of the two countries in economic and other spheres," according to a statement posed on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Russia confirmed Wednesday its decision to shut down USAID starting Oct. 1, accusing the agency of trying to influence its domestic politics.

The U.S. State Department has said it would follow the Moscow decision, saying the decision was "regrettable."

During a regular briefing on Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that the USAID, America 's primary official foreign aid agency, has spent about 2.7 billion U.S. dollars in total in Russia since the end of Soviet Union and the agency's budget for Russia in fiscal year 2012 is about 50 million dollars.

USAID opened its office in Moscow in 1992, with 60 Russians and 13 U.S. citizens working for it currently.

In July, the Russian State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, passed a law that substantially restricted activities of non-government organizations in Russia.

During the APECsummit in early September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov informed the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clintonthat Moscow would ask USAID to leave Russia shortly.


Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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