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UN agrees that US violated its visa obligations as host country — Russian diplomat

The United States did not issue visas on time to 18 Russian delegates to events in the framework of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly

THE UNITED NATIONS, October 16. /TASS/. UN Under-Secretary-General has confirmed Russia's position on the violation of host country obligations by the United States, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Gennady Kuzmin said after the session of the UN committee on relations with the host country.

"The UN Under-Secretary-General has basically supported our position, which is that the US has violated its obligations in regards to visas," Kuzmin said.

"We have managed to persuade a wide range of countries that took part in the session, that our position is right, that our demands are justified, and that the host country is not fulfilling its obligations," Kuzmin said. He noted that many countries supported Moscow's position, while representatives of EU countries took an intermediate stance.

"The issue was for the first time stated clearly on the necessity of making reciprocal steps," Kuzmin said. "We support the initiative voiced by several delegations who talked about launching a mechanism in accordance with the agreement on the headquarters which will include settling the issue in court between the UN Secretary General and the host country," he added.

The question of settling the issue in court "fully depends on the UN Secretariat," he noted. "As member countries, we can only suggest this and insist on this procedure, but the UN Secretary General has the final say in it," Kuzmin stressed.

The Russian diplomat also said that Moscow considers it necessary to avoid holding important international meetings at the UN headquarters in New York in the future. "If it has come to the situation when delegations cannot do their work, this issue will inevitably emerge," Kuzmin said. "We will proceed from the assumption that organizing UN events in the United States runs the risk of non-issuance of visas to Russians, the risk that such events will be disrupted. We will proceed from this assumption now," he added.

"They [the United States] are saying that if visas are not issues, it is due exclusively to US national security concerns," Kuzmin said. "We think that this is not a serious argument, but rather an excuse," he added.

"They are saying that they are making all possible efforts, that they get many applications for visas," the Russian diplomat noted.

Kuzmin also called on others "to help make the US safer and, in this case, move the headquarters to another place, thus ridding New York of the presence of the UN diplomatic corps." He added that the question of moving UN events to other places has not been officially raised yet.

The United States did not issue visas on time to 18 Russian delegates to events in the framework of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky suggested to move UN First Committee sessions to Vienna or Geneva starting in 2020.