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Still no explanations from London re visas for Russian delegation to air show

July 14, 2014, 19:42 UTC+3 FARNBOROUGH
347 members of the Russian delegation requested visas, only 167 received them
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© ITAR-TASS/Marina Lisceva

FARNBOROUGH, July 14. /ITAR-TASS/. Official London has so far not given any reply to the Russian Embassy’s inquiry regarding its refusal to issue British visas to a large number of Russian officials who planned to attend the Farnborough International Airshow, Russian Ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko said on Monday, July 14.

“Britain on Saturday made a statement that the refusal to issue the visas was connected with the Ukrainian issue: 347 members of the Russian delegation requested visas, only 167 received them. We will be analysing all this now because it all happened very quickly. On Friday, when we realised that there were serious problems with ensuring the presence of the Russian delegation at Farnborough, we wrote a note and made an official inquiry,” Yakovenko said.

“The first thing we asked was to give us explanations why visas had been denied to the Russian participants. Second, we urged the British authorities to correct the situation in the remaining several days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We have not received any written reply to our inquiries so far,” he said.

“Let me tell you frankly: I cannot understand the logic (of London’s decisions). The British authorities say that the reason for not issuing the visas to certain individuals was the position (of Moscow) on Ukraine and the British are not cooperating with us at the official level. On the other hand, if we are to follow this logic, those who ensure safe operation of the exhibits are obviously not in this category but most of them were not given visas either,” the diplomat said.

“I think there is no logic there. But we will be discussing and analysing all these issues: who were denied the visas and why, and whether these were just delays or refusals. There were three major events this year and visas were not issued on time but several days after they had started or even ended” which resulted in “serious losses” for the Russian delegations, Yakovenko said.

“Farnborough is not only for British participants but also for representatives of a large number of other countries” with which the Russian delegation is making contacts during the show. “Naturally, the meetings that were planned will take place,” Yakovenko said but added that “a considerable part of Russian senior officials from our companies were not given visas” even though “mid-level officials received visas”. “All this has to be analysed and conclusions have to be made,” the diplomat said.

Infographics Global Arms Market Global Arms Market
Global Arms Market. Infographics ITAR-TASS
He took a tour of the Russian exhibition and said “our companies have no complaints against the organizers”.

“Let us not make guesses. We have not received any explanations yet. When we get them, we will see what Great Britain’s position is. We are not going to engage in guesswork for them. Russia’s position of principle is that we are ready to work with Britain as much as they are prepared to work with us. We will cooperate in the areas that remain open. If Britain closes some areas to sort of isolate itself from cooperation with Russia, this will also be a fact of life and we will take note of it,” Yakovenko said.

Moscow regards London’s refusal to issue visas to Russian participants in the Farnborough air show as “conspicuously unfriendly” and reserves the right to respond reciprocally, Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Yuri Matery said.

“In fact, although the documents were filed in advance, the main part of the Russian official delegation that was planning to take part in the Farnborough International Airshow-2014 which opened on July 14 will most likely be unable to come as they have not been issued British visas,” he said.

Matery recalled that a high-level delegation of officials from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Federal Space Agency, the Federal Agency for Air Transportation, Russian Technologies, the Corporation Irkut, Rosoboronexport, MiG Corporation, Sukhoi Company and other interested companies was planning to travel to Britain to attend the exhibition and conduct talks with a large number of international participants.

“Technical personnel who attend to the exhibits, which have already been delivered for demonstration at the air show, were not issued British visas either. The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Great Britain has sent a note to the Foreign Office requesting explanations,” the spokesperson said.

This situation legitimately makes us feel indignant. We have always thought that as the organiser of major international events Great Britain would be interested in their success and in having as representative delegations at them as possible Yuri Matery Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman “This situation legitimately makes us feel indignant. We have always thought that as the organiser of major international events Great Britain would be interested in their success and in having as representative delegations at them as possible,” he said.

“This is not the first incident with visas for members of the Russian official delegation to the Farnborough air show. Similar incidents also happened at other international forums in Britain, including a natural food show in April of this year and Info Security Europe 2014 this summer,” the diplomat said.

“We consider such actions on the part of the British authorities conspicuously unfriendly and expect their official explanations with regard to the situation that does not fit into notion of normal interstate relations,” Matery said. “We reserve the right to respond reciprocally, as is customary in diplomatic practice,” he added.

The Farnborough International Airshow, which will work until July 20, is one of the major air shows in the world. Leading aircraft and spacecraft manufacturers present their latest achievements and make deals there. Last year, about 72 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of contracts and agreements were signed at the show.

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