(New York) All leaders and diplomats attending the United Nations General Assembly, September 21-27 in New York, will be required to show proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 coronavirus, under city rules, a commitment that has angered Moscow.
In a letter dated September 9, the New York Democratic City Council informed General Assembly President Abdullah Shahid that all delegates wishing to enter the UN compound would likely be required to have proof of vaccination. City Health Commissioner Dave Chukchi notes that the General Assembly Amphitheater is a “convention center” subject to the same rules as most indoor activity venues in New York City.
More than a hundred heads of state and government — including American Joe Biden, Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Britain’s Boris Johnson, but not France’s Emmanuel Macron, who will not make the trip — have announced their willingness to participate in person at the United Nations General Assembly.
Usually dozens or even hundreds of people accompany the leaders on their trips, but due to the pandemic this year, each delegation had a maximum of 7 people allowed into the UN headquarters, including only 4 who could access the General Assembly runway. Media accreditation was not allowed.
Last year, the assembly’s annual session was held mostly without any leader coming to New York. Those who did not attend this year will deliver their speech in a pre-recorded video message.
The UN Headquarters should also host multiple bilateral meetings although the US encouraged participants to hold them away from the UN Headquarters.
The New York City letter also reminds us that a mask is mandatory on public transportation in New York State and that the city “strongly” encourages its wearing in all indoor spaces.
According to the letter, delegates will also be required to “show evidence of vaccination before they are allowed to eat, drink or exercise on United Nations grounds and to participate in all recreational, dining and recreation activities. New York City Fitness.”
This commitment provoked an angry reaction from Moscow. In a letter dated Wednesday to the President of the General Assembly, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said he was “surprised and deeply disappointed” that Abdullah Shaheed had lent his support to such a measure, which he considers “clearly discriminatory”.
He adds in this letter obtained by AFP that “preventing delegates from independent countries from accessing the General Assembly hall or other areas of the United Nations headquarters is a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations.”
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