October 5, 2022

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Plans by Russia to build a new embassy near Parliament House in Canberra have been dashed by federal government officials.

The National Capital Authority, the federal government body overseeing planning in parts of the city, announced it terminated Russia’s lease on the site.

Russian diplomats were told yesterday that the country had 20 days to vacate the “premium” site in Yarralumla, a close distance from Parliament House.

The Russian embassy in the Canberra suburb of Griffith. (Supplied)

The authority’s chief executive, Sally Barnes, said it made the decision because Russia didn’t finish building its new embassy fast enough.

Russia had been seeking to build a new embassy in the Canberra suburb of Yarralumla, where the majority of diplomatic missions are, to replace the present site in the suburb of Griffith.

“The block is a premium site in central Canberra, close to Lake Burley Griffin and the Australian Parliament House,” Barnes said.

“Ongoing unfinished works detract from the overall aesthetic, importance and dignity of the area reserved for diplomatic missions and foreign representation in the national capital.”

Barnes said Russia hadn’t “demonstrated a willingness and ability to develop the site”.

Russia wanted to build a new embassy at Yarralumla in Canberra, a close distance from Federal Parliament House. (9News)

“While initial works have commenced, the block in question has been sitting as a building site with unfinished construction for many years now,” she said.

Talks about the planned new embassy had been held with Russian officials “over many years”.

The site will be made available for diplomatic purposes again after it is cleared.

Other countries, including Russia, will be able to apply to use it.

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