The US failed to issue visas to a number of delegation members slated to travel to New York, Russia’s Foreign Ministry says
The United States did not grant visas to several members of the Russian delegation, preventing the officials from taking part in the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.
Speaking to Sputnik, she noted that two of ten diplomats comprising “the official delegation” had not received the US visa.
Zakharova explained that Russia’s overall delegation consists of several groups. The first one, she said, is referred to as “the official delegation.” This group is headed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and has been formed with the approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Out of ten members of the official delegation, two did not receive visas. This tactic has already become an ominous tradition on the part of the US, but the point stands,” Zakharova stated, also offering a reminder that Moscow has already voiced concerns on this matter.
The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman went on to say that Washington had not granted visas to several delegation members from the second group, which includes various experts and diplomats who support the official delegation. She said, however, that she does not know the exact number, due to late notice.
“You would not believe… but the messages on the issuance or non-issuance of the visa were coming in just overnight. So we had to contact our colleagues at night to tell them to get ready for tomorrow’s flight [to the US],” she noted.
Of a third group, which incorporates journalists, one person failed to get a US visa, Zakharova said.
The 77th session of the UN General Assembly opened on September 13. However, the main event of this session is supposed to be the ‘High-Level week’ from September 20 to 26, which will be attended by many world leaders and foreign ministers.
Moscow has repeatedly accused Washington of violating its obligations under the 1947 agreement on the hosting of the UN headquarters in New York City, which requires the US to grant access to foreign representatives without charge and “as promptly as possible.”
Following Moscow’s and the UN’s calls to issue visas to members of the Russian delegation, the US allowed entry to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and a number of high-level diplomats, enabling them to attend the assembly.