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DC/3826
18 February 2020
2020 Session, 376th Meeting (AM)

Disarmament Commission Postpones Holding of Organizational Session

The Disarmament Commission deferred the start of its 2020 organizational session meeting for 10 days today to enable the Committee on Relations with the Host Country to address the Russian Federation’s concerns over the non-issuance of delegates’ visas by the United States.

The Russian Federation’s representative, in requesting a postponement, said the United States is “actively hindering” the arrival in New York of the head of its delegation, Konstantin Vorontsov, who he explained is waiting for the United States Embassy in Moscow to issue him a visa.

He said the United States is violating sections of the 1947 United Nations Headquarters Agreement pertaining to the issuance of visas, adding that the Russian Federation has requested an extraordinary meeting of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country to address the issue.

With no Member States objecting to a 10-day deferment, Thomas Markram, Director and Deputy to the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, acting as interim Chair, suspended the meeting.  He emphasized, however, that the Organization is facing a liquidity crisis and that a resumed meeting will be subject to financial resources being available.

Today’s organizational meeting was poised to elect the Chair and officers of the Commission’s substantive session, scheduled for 6 to 24 April.

The Commission carried out no substantive work in 2019 after the Russian Federation raised similar concerns at that session’s organizational meeting (see Press Release DC/3800).

Representatives of Australia, Syria, Venezuela, Croatia (on behalf of the European Union), Belarus, Cyprus (as Chair of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country), Japan, China, Malaysia, Iran, Nicaragua and Cuba also spoke today.

For information media. Not an official record.