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MOSCOW, September 25 /TASS/. Alexey Pushkov, the head of the Russian State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, included in the US sanctions list, on Friday got a US visa, which, however, restricts his participation in the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
"The visa has been granted… I learnt on Friday morning that the US government and the US State Department issued a single entry visa to me for a week in accordance with the US commitment to the United Nations," Pushkov told journalists on Friday.
The visa however imposes certain restrictions on Pushkov’s movement in the United States.
"I cannot move away from Manhattan to 25 kilometers but I am not planning to go too far away from the United Nations headquarters. I will be short of time," Pushkov explained.
Pushkov noted that the US decision was in line with international practice. "The French government acts exactly in the same way when it allows our deputies, who are on the EU sanctions list, to enter the French territory if they are members of the Russian delegation to PACE," Pushkov went on to say.
"In this case, a member of the Russian delegation is going to participate in the United Nations work. That is why the decision (on the visa) had been quite predictable," the head of the Russian State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs confirmed.
"In my view, a reasonable decision that no barriers should be put up to the Russian delegation at the session of the United Nations General Assembly was made," Pushkov added.
"The American side wanted to show that it applies special rules of issuing visas to people included in the US sanctions lists. I would say that it is a kind of position," Pushkov said explaining why the US embassy in Moscow had issued his visa on the last day before the departure to New York.
"On the other hand, the decision seems to be logical given the fact that the US and Russian presidents are going to meet each other. If resumption of political dialogue is in question, it would be strange to aggravate it by denying a visa to a member of the /Russian/ delegation. The more so that it contradicts the US international commitments," the Russian lawmaker explained.
Late in August, the official portal of legal information published a decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin saying he would lead the Russian delegation to the 70th session of the UN General Assembly. The delegation includes Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov; his deputy Gennady Gatilov; Russian president’s aide Yuri Ushakov; Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Federation Council Committee for International Affairs; Alexey Pushkov, the head of the Russian State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs; Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak; Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin; Alexander Pankin, the head of the international organizations department of the Russian Foreign Ministry; and Mikhail Ulyanov, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry department for non-proliferation and arms control.
President Putin is to deliver a speech at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly on September 28.