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Russia, Iran, allies write to UN chief to complain of diplomatic ordeals in US

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria and Venezuela have sent a letter to UN chief Antonio Guterres, complaining about the United States’ lack of commitment to its obligations as the host of the world body’s headquarters.

In the joint letter sent on Thursday, permanent representatives of the six countries to the UN protested Washington’s ongoing violation of its obligations under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement of 1947, demanding that the case be referred to a tribunal for settlement.

The letter said the US violation of the norms of international law continues to persist.
In particular, the host country continues to not issue visas in time for delegates to participate at United Nations events or to work at the permanent missions, it added.

With regard to one delegation’s experience in particular, upon receiving notification of completion of issuance of visas, delegates travel to a third country to collect them, but have to wait 10 to 14 days after arrival due to delays in the process of receiving the visas, it said.

The letter said in other cases, single-entry visas are issued for a limited period of time or with considerable delay, impeding the participation of the states in the world body and leads to unacceptable hardship for members of their permanent missions who are prevented from visiting their home countries for years, even for humanitarian reasons.

The six countries said the UN, which is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members, should not tolerate coercion and discrimination against a group of its members.

“We are convinced that the establishment of a neutral arbitration tribunal and its legal conclusions on the scope of its powers and the pressing problems of the day-to-day life of delegations would be beneficial for the smooth and effective functioning of the UN,” they said.

Iran denounces unilateral US sanctions

In a separate development, Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations office in Geneva called for the US and some of its European allies to be prosecuted for their illegal sanctions against other countries.

Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh made the remarks in an address to the 48th regular session of the Human Rights Council on Friday, following a special report on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“The time has come to prosecute the United States as the main culprit, as well as some European countries, for imposing illegal sanctions against the target countries,” he said.

He said the US has intensified its unilateral sanctions over the past two years despite the coronavirus pandemic, to the point that even Covax, the mechanism for the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, is not excluded from the negative impacts of the bans.

Hamaneh further said the unilateral sanctions primarily harm innocent people of the target countries and should be considered as crimes against humanity, adding that prosecution should be part of any program to curb the negative effects of sanctions on human rights.

“We agree on the need for a coherent approach to dealing comprehensively with various aspects of US unilateral sanctions and their negative effects,” he said.

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