The United States did not issue visas to 18 Russian diplomats during the current session of the UN General Assembly, said Gennady Kuzmin, deputy head of the Russian representative office at the Sixth Committee on Legal Issues.
The diplomat noted that over the current week the United States did not issue a single visa. One of the individuals whose visa was declined was a translator who would translate into English the speeches of the Russian delegates to the Sixth Committee.
In September, the US authorities did not give part of the Russian delegation a visa to participate in the UN General Assembly, as well as in the meeting of the organization’s First Committee.
After that, the First and Sixth Committees of the UN General Assembly suspended their work for several hours in protest.
The first deputy representative of Russia at the world body, Dmitry Polyansky, suggested moving the sessions from New York to Geneva or Vienna, to avoid the US abusing its position as host of the UN HQ.
The problem of non-issuance of visas to Russian diplomats to participate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly will be discussed on Tuesday in an organization with US representatives, said committee chairman Sacha Llorenti Soliz.
“I would like to inform that the bureau continues to make efforts. We held informal consultations with the UN secretariat, with the chairman of the UN General Assembly and with representatives of the host country. According to the information we received, a meeting with representatives of the host state will be held tomorrow [October 15th],” Soliz said.
At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement accusing the US of attempting to undermine the work of the UN.
The US debt to the regular budget of the United Nations (UN) has exceeded $1 billion, which is Washington’s attempt to undermine the organization’s work, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
In total, 64 countries are in debt to the UN, but the main “culprits” are the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Iran. Out of a total debt of $1.4 billion, Washington owes upwards of $1 billion.
In this regard the UN Secretariat may have difficulties with paying salaries to employees and paying bills issued by suppliers of goods and services, as early as in November 2019.
“The Department of General Assembly and Conference Management, a key unit of the Secretariat, is forced to take austerity measures. Starting in mid-October of this year, only two meetings a day will be provided for the Security Council and General Assembly – strictly from 10:00 to 13: 00 and from 15:00 to 18:00, while previously diplomats often sat in the evening and at night. The volume of documents to be translated into the six official languages of the UN will be limited. Also, the UN will resort to cost savings in regard to electricity, air-conditioning and protection of buildings “, the Russian Foreign Ministry statement said.
According to the Russian side, the US is, indeed, the main culprit and it does so on purpose, to undermine the work of the UN.
“There are obvious attempts by Washington to undermine the work of the Organization: along with an unpredictable and biased policy on issuing American visas to members of delegations, financial levers are also involved,” the statement said.
The Foreign Ministry noted that Russia is among the bona fide payers, they also recalled that “Moscow has traditionally called on other UN member states to budget self-discipline.”
In addition, the diplomatic service added that the other day, UN Secretary General Antoniu Guterres informed representatives of the New York diplomatic corps about the serious deterioration of the organization’s financial situation.
Undermining the UN does make sense, since it recently doesn’t quite align with the US aims in many fields, and that is clearly an issue.
In September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused the US of abusing its position as UN Headquarters host by blocking the visas of members of the Russian delegation to the UN General Assembly. He said that the respective committees would be notified.
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