BRUSSELS, April 07. /ITAR-TASS/. Standard visitor rules will be applied to diplomats of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO if they want to visit the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, NATO’s spokesperson Oana Lungescu told Itar-Tass on Monday, commenting NATO’s decision to restrict extensive access to NATO Headquarters to all representatives of the Russian Permanent Mission as of Tuesday, April 8.
The press service of Russia’s Permanent Mission to NATO told Itar-Tass that it would not comment the situation. “The formerly extensive access to NATO Headquarters will be denied to all representatives of the Russian Mission, except the Russian ambassador (Alexander Grushko), his Deputy Head of Mission and two support staff. Should any other staff from the Russian Mission require access for official business, standard visitor rules will apply,” NATO said in a release published on its website earlier on Monday.
“That means that the staff member will have to be announced, registered and escorted during their visits. This still gives Russian diplomats a level of access to NATO Headquarters that was never granted by any Russian ministry or institution to NATO staff working in Moscow,” NATO’s release said. The foreign ministers of 28 NATO member states can cancel their decision after considering the current situation in relations with Russia, the release went on to say.
NATO Foreign Ministers decided on April 1 to suspend all practical cooperation with Russia, civilian and military, as a direct consequence of Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and of Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which NATO strongly condemns.
Ministers also decided that political dialogue in the NATO-Russia Council can continue, as necessary, at the Ambassadorial level and above, mainly to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. Political consultations in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council at the Ambassadorial level can also continue as appropriate, NATO said in its release.
The restrictions will be effective until June 2014 when the North Atlantic Council holds regular re-evaluation of the state of relations with Russia in view of further development of the situation in Ukraine.