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U.S. Playing Sick Games with Visas for Russian UN Journalists

April 23, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Numerous news outlets have reported that the U.S., after weeks of delays and procrastinations, has refused to issue entry visas to the Russian journalists accompanying Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on the eve of his travel to New York to address and chair two UN Security Council meetings on April 24 and 25.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on her Telegram channel today: “On the question of the true attitude of the United States towards journalists. It’s 40 minutes before their flight to New York. They are all at the airport. Visas not issued. The answer from the American embassy: ‘we are working on it.’ The manipulation of the topic of freedom of speech and the rights of journalists is obvious.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov issued an official statement, scoring the actions of the U.S.:

“Of course, I am aware how well our American colleagues are known for such things but I was sure that this time it would be different, considering the focus placed on their ugly behavior. I was mistaken. The country that calls itself the strongest, the smartest, the freest and the most just, has behaved in a cowardly and stupid fashion by showing what its assertions about protecting freedom of speech and access to information are really worth. We will also have to work for you, show more energy, and put more effort into bringing the truth to the world community and the public. Please try to keep track of what we are going to do there and spread this truth through your channels. I am convinced that it will draw much more interest all over the world than the ‘filtered’ information that our Western colleagues bring down on the heads of their viewers, listeners, and readers. Most importantly, be sure that we will not forget or forgive.”

On April 24, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in one of the key events of Russia’s presidency at the UN Security Council, an open debate on the agenda item “Effective Multilateralism through the Defense of the Principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

The Foreign Ministry press release said of the event:

“An expanding range of contemporary challenges and threats and their increasingly complex nature makes it all the more important to enhance true multilateralism based on equitable cooperation and taking indiscriminate account of the interests of all states. We believe that such interaction must rest on the generally recognized principles of international law including the goals and principles of the UN Charter. The fundamental rules of inter-state relations, approved at the San Francisco conference nearly eight decades ago, remain fully valid.”

On April 25, Sergey Lavrov will chair a UNSC high-level event, an open debate under the agenda item “The Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question.” This event is regularly held within the reporting and mandate cycle of the Security Council, however, it acquires special significance and urgency in view of the current extremely tense situation in the Middle East, the ministry stated.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said:

“The United States violated again its obligations under the UN Headquarters Agreement.... We consider this step as another manifestation of neglect of the international law by the United States. When denying access to UN events for Russian journalists, the U.S. authorities once again demonstrate their true attitude to freedom of speech and availability of information. We count on the UN leadership and specialized international mechanisms to pay due attention to this egregious situation and take all necessary steps against the violator.”

The Teller Report quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov as saying:

“The group of Russian journalists who were supposed to accompany Lavrov to New York were not issued visas, and until the last moment the Americans pretended that they were working, the solution was about to be found—this is a game of nerves, this is a mockery, this is another reflection of the fact that colleagues in Washington are not something that cannot be trusted, they simply should not be listened to. Journalists were supposed to cover the most important event in the framework of the Russian presidency of the Security Council.... We will find ways to respond to this, so that Americans will remember for a long time that this is not done. And they will remember it.”

Deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary General Farhan Haq had declined to comment on the issue as of today, and there was no official response from the U.S. at the time of this writing.

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