UN, 23 Mar – The situation with the issuance of US visas for Russian diplomats working in the permanent mission to the UN is degrading, 37 people are waiting for their extension, one has been waiting for six months, said Sergey Leonidchenko, head of the legal referent of the permanent mission of the Russian Federation to the organization, speaking at a meeting of the Committee on relations with the host country. The text of the speech was published on Thursday on the website of the Russian mission.
“The situation with visas is deteriorating. For almost half a year, a diplomat who is supposed to arrive in New York to work under the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly – Victoria Mazaeva has been waiting for a visa. The permanent mission is forced to work in this committee not at full capacity,” Leonidchenko said.
According to him, in general, now 37 employees of the Russian permanent mission and 49 members of their families are waiting for the extension of visas.
“The average waiting period continues to grow and is almost 5 months. De facto, such employees are deprived of the opportunity to travel to their homeland, even for serious humanitarian reasons. By the way, their close relatives also cannot come to them, since the American side does not issue them visas,” he pointed out.
According to Leonidchenko, the situation with visa discrimination against citizens of the Russian Federation who have passed the competition for filling vacancies in the UN Secretariat or are already working in it is not being improved.
“There are particularly egregious cases when the heads of departments of the secretariat cannot obtain a visa for years, all this time being unable to fully fulfill their duties. Recall that they are hired by a world organization, not a state department,” the diplomat said.
As Leonidchenko pointed out, the United States considered that they had the right to single-handedly decide who would work in the UN secretariat and who would not. “The question arises when the Secretary General will protect the rights of at least his own employees and the organization as such, which has the right to select employees without the intervention of the host country,” the diplomat said.
“The statistics on visas for Russian delegates from the capital are not better. Since January 2023, there has not been a single UN event in New York that would have taken place without visa problems,” he said.
According to Leonidchenko, due to non-issuance of visas, Russian delegations were either completely absent or were understaffed at the meetings of the working group on contingent-owned property, the 57th session of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the UNIDIR Conference on Cyber Stability, the 4th session of the Open-ended Working Group on security issues in the field of the use of information and communication technologies and information and communication technologies themselves 2021-2025, the second working group of UNCITRAL.
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