‘Not a good idea’: UN chief on visa restrictions against Russians in Europe amid war


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently expressed hope that concerns surrounding the European Union’s decision to halt visa processing for Russian citizens would be quickly resolved. He stressed that visa restrictions against Russians would not be a “good idea”. According to the Sputnik report, António Guterres also mentioned the difficulties in obtaining visas for Russian officials to travel to the UN headquarters in New York, and pointed out that the use of arbitration to put pressure on the States- United to issue visas more quickly could make the problems worse.

In response to the EU’s termination of its visa facilitation agreement with Russia, the UN chief said: “I think that relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation have deteriorated many ways with the war in Ukraine, and obviously I hope that with the end of the war, all these situations will disappear”. Referring to Russian citizens, he added: “It’s probably not a good idea not to allow them to travel,” Sputnik reported.

Visas should be granted to delegations from all countries: António Guterres

Moreover, Guterres points out, “We have been clear that visas must be granted to delegations from all countries, I seriously doubt that arbitration would lead to a positive result.” The chief went on to say, “It wouldn’t change, probably even to get the attitude of the host country worse because even arbitration cannot have any binding measures.”

On top of that, the UN chief said moving the organization’s headquarters outside the United States is not a practical notion.

It is relevant to mention that the proposal to completely end the European Union’s visa facilitation agreement with Moscow was agreed at the beginning of September. It would even lead to a higher price and a longer issuance process. Following this, Moscow issued a warning that if travel restrictions were imposed on the Russian people, the nation would retaliate.

In addition, several EU countries are in favor of such restrictions, saying that European holidays for Russians should be banned until Moscow ends the conflict in Ukraine. While several states bordering Russia have already stopped granting visas to Russian citizens, Nordic countries like Finland and Denmark have urged the EU to act. Meanwhile, from midnight today, Russian nationals holding a valid Schengen visa will not be allowed to enter Lithuania.

However, Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, has spoken out against the idea of ​​a complete ban on Russian visas. According to the RIA Novosti report, Borrell called it a “highly controversial proposal”, saying some countries had made a choice and others would oppose the action.

(Image: AP/Shutterstock)

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