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U.S. urges India to protect American diplomats

English.news.cn   2013-12-18 06:12:21            

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Tuesday urged India to accord due protection to American diplomats as the South Asian nation was responding angrily to the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York.

"We have conveyed at high levels to the government of India our expectations that India will continue to fulfill all of its obligations under the Vienna Convention," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters at a regular press briefing.

She said Washington will continue to work with India to ensure that all of American diplomatic personnel and facilities "are being afforded full rights and protections."

India on Tuesday withdrew identity cards that entitle American consular officers to diplomatic immunity and expedite travel into and through India, and removed the traffic barricades outside the U.S. embassy in New Delhi, the national capital of India, as part of measures taken to retaliate against the recent arrest of Devyani Khobragade, India's deputy consul general in New York.

Khobragade, 39, was arrested in New York last week over visa fraud charges stemming from her mistreatment of her Indian maid. Press reports from India said she was handcuffed in public as she was dropping her daughter off at school, strip-searched, subjected to DNA swabbing, and kept in a cell with drug addicts until her release on a 250,000-U.S.-dollars bond.

India on Tuesday also summoned U.S. Ambassador Nancy Powell in protest and stopped import clearances for the U.S. embassy, as senior Indian government officials refused to meet with a visiting delegation of U.S. congressmen.

"The U.S. and India enjoy a broad and deep friendship," Harf said in a statement. "And this isolated episode is not indicative of the close and mutually respectful ties we share."

She told reporters that U.S. diplomatic security officials followed "standard procedures" during Khobragade's arrest, and that the Indian diplomat does not have full diplomatic immunity.

"We understand there are sensitive issues involved here," Harf added. "For example, the State Department isn't the entity that conducts the intake procedure at the federal courthouse. That's the U.S. Marshals."

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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