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Russia ‘alarmed’ by lack of US visas to attend UN leaders’ meeting

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Russia’s UN ambassador says it is “alarming” that less than three weeks before the annual meeting of world leaders at the UN General Assembly, not a single member of the 56-member Russian advance team and delegation led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov received an entry visa to the United States.

Vassily Nebenzia said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres obtained Friday evening by The Associated Press that “it is all the more alarming that for several months the authorities of the United States have consistently refused to grant entry visas to a number of Russian delegates attending official United Nations events.

The Russian ambassador pointed out that the United States, as the host country of the United Nations, is legally obliged to issue visas, adding that the application to attend high-level meetings of the United Nations from September 19 had been submitted to the United States Embassy in Moscow.

Nebenzia asked António Guterres “to insist once again with the American authorities that they must promptly issue the requested visas for all Russian delegates and their companions”, including journalists covering Lavrov’s visit.

Already poor relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated considerably since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The Biden administration views Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine as the most acute and immediate threat to international stability, and it leads an international coalition supporting Ukraine.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations said the United States takes its obligations as a host country seriously and processes “hundreds of visas each year for Russian Federation delegates to U.S. events.” ‘UN”.

“To ensure prompt processing, we repeatedly remind the Russian Mission to the UN, as we do for all other UN missions, that the United States needs applications as soon as possible.” , said the spokesperson, who was not authorized to be quoted by name.

“This is particularly important,” the U.S. spokesperson said, “due to Russia’s unwarranted actions against our embassy in Russia, including the forced dismissal of local national and third-country staff, which have significantly limited our staff and therefore our ability to process visas.”

In his letter, Nebenzia said that among the latest examples of US refusals to grant entry visas were Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev to attend the just-concluded UN Police Chiefs Summit and Russian officials seeking to attend a meeting that began Aug. 29. and continues until September 9 on the drafting of an “International Convention on the fight against the use of information and communication technologies for criminal purposes”.

The Russian ambassador cited the 1947 agreement between the United Nations and the United States which states that “visas shall be granted free of charge and as expeditiously as possible” and that this “shall be applicable whatever relations exist between the governments of the people mentioned…and the government of the United States.

UN Associate Spokesperson Florencia Soto Nino-Martinez said the United Nations remains in close contact with the United States on matters falling under the UN-US headquarters agreement. , including visas, and “we do it in this case” raised by Russia.


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