MOSCOW, April 17 - RAPSI. The Moscow Commercial Court set for May 16 the primary hearings in the lawsuit against the Foreign Ministry for stationing the Department for Georgian Interests in a mansion in Moscow.

The plaintiff is the owner of the mansion with a total area of almost 1,000 square meters.

The plaintiff explained that the mansion was rented by the Georgian Embassy until 2001. The building was later rented by the Georgian Locations History Center, which then purchased the mansion via an auction and later sold it to the Ostozhenka Business Center in 2007.

The second floor is still occupied by the Department for Georgian Interests in Russia, which has served as the country's consular agency since March 4, 2009 after the severing of diplomatic ties between Russia and Georgia following the 2008 South Ossetian armed conflict. Absent any lease with the plaintiff, it sees no legal grounds for the department's accommodation in its building.

The owner stated during the preliminary hearing that under a treaty between Russia and Switzerland dated March 4, 2009, the department must be located in the mansion on Ostozhenka Street. The landlord holds that by indicating its property in the treaty the ministry has infringed its rights and the court should declare such conduct unlawful.

The plaintiff also wants the court to order the ministry to file a note with the Swiss Embassy within 15 days after the judgment enters into force requesting to amend the treaty.

The ministry argued that it has acted in conformity with the law and in purchasing the building the plaintiff must have known what was inside. It was perfectly clear even from the outside as its facade hosts the state emblem of Georgia.