Russia Today carried an article today saying that the Russian Duma is outraged because the United States refused to provide a visa to a high level member of the Russian government to enter the U.S. to meet with Ban Ki Moon and attend a UN sponsored conference. Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko was not given a requested visa so she could participate in the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament. Apparently they have received verbal confirmation that she will have a visa for a planned meeting with Moon, but that has not been formally confirmed either.
It would seem that a policy of blocking foreign dignitaries from attending conferences for which their attendance is clearly appropriate is an unacceptable interference with international diplomacy. This issue has been discussed at the highest levels. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has discussed the issue with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry twice. Apparently Speaker Matviyenko finally got her visa to enter the United States, but it restricts her from attending the Inter-Parliamentary meetings, which are the purpose of her visit.
The Russian Duma is discussing a response that might seem reasonable on a level playing field, but which will be framed as antagonism if it comes to the fore. They say that nations that use unilateral sanctions to hinder attendance of select parties to multilateral diplomatic conferences shouldn’t be allowed to host the United Nations and related multilateral forums.
The disruptive behavior of the United States would seem, at the very least, antagonistic, malicious and childish. Is this the way we want the international community to operate?
- RT.com: Top Senator urges UN to punish nations that impose unilateral sanctions
- Comment by the Foreign Ministry on the issuance of a US visa to Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko