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Australia decides to end land lease agreement for Russian embassy to build new building

International Business News  –  Australia’s decision to terminate the land lease agreement for the Russian Embassy to build a new building, the Russian side: incomprehensible!

The Australian government’s National Capital Authority, which is primarily responsible for land planning and management matters in Canberra, has informed the Russian side that it has decided to terminate a lease agreement with the Russian Embassy in Australia, according to a statement released on 17 June, according to Russian media reports such as “Kommersant” and TASS. Under the agreement, the Australian side had planned to lease a piece of land to the Russian side for the construction of a new building for the Russian embassy, the report said. In response, a staff member of the Russian embassy told TASS that the Australian move was “incomprehensible” and that the Russian side planned to seek legal advice first.

A statement from the Australian side, quoted by Kommersant, said that the National Capital Authority of Australia approved the Russian lease of the land in 2008 and the construction work on the site in 2011. According to the agreement, the Russian side should complete construction within three years, but despite some efforts by the Russian Embassy to move forward, the construction project was not completed on schedule.

The statement also quoted National Capital Authority Director Sally Barnes as saying, “The National Capital Authority manages the embassy site on behalf of all Australians and the site is a prime location in the heart of Canberra, close to Lake Burley Griffin and Australian Parliament House. The ongoing construction work is detrimental to the overall aesthetics of the capital lot on which the diplomatic corps and foreign representative offices are located, affecting its importance and majesty.”

The statement also said that the Russian side had 20 days to clear the land after the Australian side notified the termination of the agreement.

A staff member of the Russian Embassy in Australia told the outlet that the Russian side plans to first seek legal advice on “this unprecedented and extremely unwanted action by the Australian National Capital Authority,” TASS reported. He added that the construction work had indeed encountered many difficulties, but the Russian embassy and the Australian government had been holding constructive consultations on the matter, and that it was “incomprehensible” that the Australian side had decided to terminate the lease agreement after more than two years of construction work.