UN Chief Agrees US Violating Visa Obligations As Host Country - Russian Mission

UNITED NATIONS (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 16th October, 2019) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes the United States violated visa obligations as a host country by denying visas to members of the Russian delegation, Russia's Deputy Envoy to the United Nations Gennady Kuzmin told reporters.

"The Deputy Secretary-General [Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Miguel de Serpa Soares] voiced the position of the Secretary-General, and he fully shares our position," Kuzmin said on Tuesday. "[Soares] in his statement shared our position that the host country violated its obligations by not issuing visas to our diplomats."

Earlier in the day, the UN Committee on Relations with the Host Country convened for a meeting to address the question of diplomats from Russia, Cuba and Iran, among others, not receiving US visas to work at the organization's headquarters in New York.

Kuzmin said US representatives explained that some foreign diplomats did not receive US visas as a result of national security concerns.

"The United States is referring to national security concerns, which is an absurd argument yet the only one legal, we consider it as an excuse, it is not a serious argument," Kuzmin said.

The issuance of visas to diplomats, he added, is being "endlessly postponed."

Kuzmin noted that the issue of the United States not granting visas to several foreign diplomats, including the total of 18 from Russia, from now on, makes scheduling of UN events in New York risky. However, he expressed hope that those delegates who are still waiting for their travel documents will eventually receive them.

The diplomat said that overall, the meeting was conducted in a satisfactory way because Russia was able to convince other member states that the US is not complying with its obligations.

"We will continue pushing, continue demanding the host country to comply with its obligations," Kuzmin concluded.

The United States failed to issues visas to allow Russian diplomats to participate in this year's meetings of the UN General Assembly First and Sixth Committees, which deal with disarmament and international security and legal matters, respectively.

Earlier in the month, Russia's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy proposed to shift the location of the First Committee from New York to Vienna or Geneva, citing obstacles Russian diplomats have faced when trying to obtain US visas.