Visa ban on Russians in Europe not a good idea: UN chief
The repercussions of not issuing visas to the Russian delegation to the UNGA 77th session continue to unfold.
In an interview for the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres relayed his hope that conflicts surrounding the EU's suspension of visa processing for Russian citizens will soon be resolved, stating that such measures do not amount to a good idea.
Guterres commented, "I think that the relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation have deteriorated in many aspects with the war in Ukraine, and obviously, I hope that with the end of the war, all these situations will disappear ... it is probably not a good idea not to allow them [Russian citizens] to move."
At the same time, during the interview, the UN Secretary-General explained that the use of an "arbitrage" to pressure the US to grant visas faster to Russian diplomats traveling to the UN Headquarters this month could escalate matters in the opposite direction, making it worse.
"We have been clear that visas must be granted to delegations of all countries, I seriously doubt that arbitrage would lead to a positive result, it would not change, probably to even get worse the attitude of the host country because even the arbitrage would not be able to have any compulsive measure," he clarified.
Regarding the Russian delegates that are due to attend the 77th UN General Assembly in New York next week, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said last week that they have not yet been issued visas for entry.
On his part, Russian Deputy Representative to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy told Sputnik on Sunday that his country will urge Guterres to initiate arbitration against the US and "will continue to insist on its implementation" because of the delay in visa issuance for Russian delegates.
"Washington is openly using the issuance of visas as a 'filter' to prevent not only Russians from entering the UN platform, but representatives of a whole group of states whose 'guilt' lies only in the desire to pursue a sovereign and independent policy," the Russian diplomat said.
"There have been a lot of violations. Our problems with visas and illegally confiscated diplomatic property have remained unresolved for the sixth year. Restrictions on movement have an even longer history," Polyanskiy said, highlighting that the ship has sailed for the "reasonable and limited timeframes" enforced by the UN General Assembly for resolving this matter, and "the Secretary-General, unfortunately, has not yet begun the arbitration procedure."
In light of the complications regarding the non-issuance of visa and entry permits to the Russian delegates, Guterres told RIA Novosti that he does not think it is a realistic idea to relocate UN headquarters outside of the United States.
"I do not think that is realistic," Guterres said when asked whether he fears that countries will start to advocate more strongly for moving the headquarters from the United States to another location in light of Russian diplomats facing issues with obtaining visas to attend the UN General Assembly session.