18 Russian delegates have been refused visas to enter the United States and attend the 74th session of the UN General Assembly at its headquarters in New York City.
In response, Russia has proposed to move the UN sessions outside of the US to other UN facilities such as in Geneva. So far, the proposal has been turned down.
The UN General Assembly’s First Committee on disarmament has voted against Russia’s proposal to consider moving its sessions from the United States if the UN and Washington fail to resolve visa issues of Russian delegates. Eighteen countries supported Russia’s proposal, 69 states voted against it, and another 72 countries abstained. Among those who supported the proposal were China, Kazakhstan, Syria, Iran, several Latin American and African countries, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
Russia suggested to request a report from the UN secretary general by 1 April 2020 about alternative locations for holding the 2020 sessions of the First Committee, including Geneva and Vienna, if no progress is reached on the visa issues.
When discussing the draft co-authored by Angola, Burundi, Nicaragua, Syria and Russia, Moscow suggested to make amendments to the initial proposal and specify the steps needed to resolve the problem, Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Andrey Belousov said. “However, we think that this serious problem – access of national delegations to UN events – should remain in focus of our committee and General Assembly, so we suggested a step-by-step approach,” Belousov noted.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. State Department informed Moscow that the individuals did not submit documents on time for visa approval. The Kremlin denies this.
The issue seems to be another thorn in the diplomatic side and a tit-for-tat move.
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