HOST COUNTRY COMMITTEE DISCUSSES ISSUES RELATED TO TRAVEL, PARKING AND ACCESS TO HEADQUARTERS20000726
The Committee on Relations with the Host Country met this afternoon to discuss a number of issues, including host country travel regulations.
Representatives of Iraq, Cuba and the Russian Federation expressed concern at the imposition of travel restrictions and limitations by the host country. The representative of Cuba said that such limitations were discriminatory and constituted a selective approach to limit its staff. The host country continued to refer to reasons of national security to deny the movement of staff. After the end of the cold war, that language was not in line with the realities of the present day.
The representative of Iraq said that the continuation of travel restrictions was a violation of international conventions regarding the facilities that should be provided by the host country. The decisions to impose travel restrictions had political connotations and dimensions that ran contrary to accepted norms and regulations.
The representative of the United States said that at no time had the United States Government felt it was in violation of a General Assembly resolution concerning the subject of travel restrictions. The term national security should not be taken lightly. The United States did not set up any impediment to United Nations-related business -- personal travel was what was at issue.
Delegations also expressed concern about access to the United Nations building during times of special security arrangements. With the Millenium Assembly quickly approaching, delegates requested that measures be taken to ensure unimpeded access to the United Nations during that period.
The United States delegate said that the host Government engaged in meetings months in advance of special sessions to develop security plans. In planning for the General Assembly last year, only some 15 delegations had attended a meeting that had been publicized in the Journal for weeks. He hoped that delegates would be active in attending security briefings for the Millenium Summit.
Several representatives also addressed the parking situation in New York, which they said continued to hamper their ability to discharge their duties. The representative of Argentina said that the lack of courtesy and regard shown by New York City police officers to members of diplomatic corps had become a daily reality.Host Country Committee - 1a - Press Release HQ/603 202nd Meeting (PM) 26 July 2000
In other business, the delegation of Iraq expressed its concern at the delay in the issuance of entry visas into the United States.
The Committee also elected Andras Vamos-Goldman (Canada) as Vice-Chairman of the Committee to fill the vacancy created by the departure of John Holmes.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Costa Rica, and Cote dIvoire. The Committee Rapporteur and a representative of the New York City Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol also spoke at the meeting.
The representatives of Argentina, Azerbaijan, Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Namibia, Venzuela and Zimbabwe participated in the meeting as observers.
The Committee will meet again at a date and time to be announced.
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Committee Work Programme
The Committee on Relations with the Host Country met this afternoon to consider the question of travel regulations for diplomatic personnel and other matters.
The Committee was established by the General Assembly in 1971. It replaced the Informal Joint Committee on Host Country Relations established by the Assembly in 1969. It is authorized to deal with questions of security of missions accredited to the United Nations and the safety of their staff, the responsibilities of such missions and issues relating to diplomatic parking. It also advises the host country on issues arising in connection with the implementation of the Headquarters Agreement between the United Nations and the United States.
The Committee was formerly composed of the host country and 14 Member States chosen by the General Assembly President. Following an Assembly resolution in 1998, the membership was increased by four members, one from the African, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean and Eastern European States, bringing to 19 the total membership, as follows:
From the African States -- Cote d'Ivoire, Libya, Mali and Senegal; from the Asian States -- China, Cyprus, Iraq, and Malaysia; from the Eastern European States -- Bulgaria, Hungary, Russian Federation; from Latin America and the Caribbean States -- Cuba, Costa Rica, and Honduras; from Western Europe and other States -- Canada, France, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.
Documents before the Committee
The Committee had before it a note verbale dated 9 March from the United States Mission to the United Nations addressed to the Permanent Mission of Cuba (document A/AC.154/330) referring to late issuance of United Nations visas to two Cuban nationals who were seeking entry in to the United States for the purpose of attending meetings at the United Nations.
The note verbale explains that the United States Mission reviewed the two cases and determined that, owing to an inadvertent administrative error, the normal processing time for the visa applications was exceeded.
According to the note verbale, the United States Mission endeavours to process all visa requests related to United Nations business in a timely manner, and regrets those few instances when this has not been the case.
The Committee also had before it a letter dated 11 June from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document A/AC.154/331). In the letter, he informs the Secretary-General of the aggressive conduct by United States authorities at JFK Airport in New York towards Mithal Sabri Jassem, a member of the Executive Bureau of the General Federation of Iraqi Women and a member of the Iraqi delegation to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. The letter says that Dr. Jassem suffered severe physical and psychological distress without justification when she was taken into an isolated room reserved for suspects and criminals, where United States authorities interrogated, photographed and fingerprinted her.
The letter goes on to say that the United States treatment of Dr. Jassem reflects blatant contempt for the most elementary principles of civilized behaviour and constituted a serious violation of their obligations under the Headquarters Agreement, in which the host country must facilitate the entry of delegations coming to participate in the work of the United Nations at Headquarters in New York.
Before the Committee also was a note verbale dated 8 June from the Permanent Mission of Cuba addressed to the United States (document A/AC.154/332). According to the note, on 15 May, Cuba submitted to the United States Mission a travel authorization beyond the 25-mile zone for the Permanent Representative of Cuba in response to an invitation of the Board of Governors and members of the Town Hall Los Angeles Forum.
The note says that the authorities of the host country denied the request with the argument that the trip had no relation to the official business of the United Nations.
The letter says that travel limitations and restrictions imposed by the host country on Cuban personnel were incongruent with resolutions adopted by consensus by the General Assembly under the item related to the Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country. The host country continues to impose travel restrictions arbitrarily and for political motives on the staff of the Cuban Mission.
Also before the Committee was a letter dated 28 June from the Deputy Counsellor for Host Country Affairs of the United States Mission to the United Nations addressed to the Chairman of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country transmitting the text of a note verbale also dated 28 June from the United States Mission to the Permanent Mission of Iraq (document A/AC.154/333) regarding the arrival in New York of Dr. Jassem.
The note verbale states that when Dr. Jassem arrived at the American Embassy to apply for her visa, she clearly stated that she was not affiliated with the Government of Iraq, but was rather a member of a non-governmental organization. Official visas are accorded only to government officials travelling to the United States on official government business. Representatives of non-governmental organizations coming to the United Nations are given tourist visas. Dr. Jassem was issued a tourist visa based solely on her own representations regarding her affiliation and purpose in coming to the United States.
The Committee had before it a letter dated 14 July from the United States Mission addressed to the Chairman of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country, transmitting a note verbale of the same date from the United States Mission to the Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations (document A/AC.154/334).
The note states that representatives of United Nations Member States are provided entry into the United States for the purpose of conducting United Nations business. The United States has no legal obligation to permit unrestricted travel outside the United Nations Headquarters District for personal reasons or for work not related to the United Nations. Adoption of the Agenda
SOTIROS ZACHHEOS (Cyprus), Committee Chairman, asked if the agenda before the Committee could be adopted as proposed.
SORAYA ELENA ALVAREZ NUNEZ (Cuba) said that her delegation felt an item involving considerations with regard to application of the agreement between the United States and the United Nations should also be included on the agenda. Cuba felt that it would appropriate to make the presentation under that agenda item.
BERND NIEHAUS (Costa Rica) also agreed that it should be made a special agenda item.
ABDUL MUNIM AL-KADHE (Iraq) said that his delegation wanted to inscribe another item on the agenda regarding the delay of granting entry visas for participating in the work of the United Nations. Iraq had no objection to discuss the issue under other matters.
The Chairman said that Iraq could make its presentation under other matters. The agenda was then adopted with the additional item as proposed by Cuba, and an item on the issue of visas, which would be discussed under other matters.
The Chairman then invited representatives of Argentina, Azerbaijan, Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to participate as observers.
Before proceeding with the meeting, the Chairman reminded delegates of a Millenium Summit briefing on the logistical, protocol, security and other organization arrangements to be held by Secretariat and representatives of the host country on 27 July at 10:00 a.m.
ABDUL MUNIM AL-KADHE (Iraq) said that the imposition of travel restrictions complicated the work of some permanent missions. The Committee had made recommendations to the General Assembly and those recommendations and decisions had been adopted by consensus. Iraq thought that the host country would abide by those resolutions and take the necessary steps to lift travel restrictions since they contradicted the provisions of the Headquarters Agreement as well as diplomatic conventions and agreements. Iraq was of the view that the continuation of travel restrictions was a violation of international conventions and regulations regarding the facilities that should be provided by the host country. The decisions to impose travel restrictions had political connotations and dimensions that ran contrary to accepted norms and regulations.
SORAYA ELENA ALVAREZ NUNEZ (Cuba) said the restrictions imposed by authorities of the host country on some permanent missions were discriminatory and constituted a selective approach to limit its staff. The track record for the system of imposing travel restrictions was long. The requests for travel authorization put forward by Cuba had historically been to accept a variety of invitations by prestigious institutions. Cuba denounced the practice of the host country to deny without reason the very few and well founded requests for travel authorization beyond the 25 mile zone.
Her delegation could not fully grasp the rationale prompting the host country to orally deny requests, she said. Such denials to Cubas request were many times left on the Missions answering machine. The host country continued to refer to reasons of national security to deny the movement of staff. After the end of the cold war, that language was not in line with the realities of the present day. It was inappropriate to turn down requests for travel, in particular requests from the permanent representative of a Member State.
The host country had specific controls in dealing with staff situations and requests for travel. In that context, the host country set up the itinerary and other details. The travel request by the permanent representative of Cuba reflected his desire to accede to an invitation from a prestigious institution. The host country could not cite national security reasons in that case.
The practice by the host country to turn down requests had stepped up since 1996, she said. Since that time, it had been impossible for the permanent representative to accede to official invitations that dealt with United Nations- related issues and addresses to academic institutions.
Cuba had described the situation it faced in a note verbale, she said. In that note verbale, Cuba formally protested to the United States Mission which orally turned down travel authority for the permanent representative to address a meeting of the Town Hall Los Angeles Forum on the work of the United Nations. Continuing with the rationale put forward by the host country to justify their denials, the allegation was made that the activity in question was not related to United Nations functions.
In another case, she said, the third secretary of the Cuban Mission, who sought to participate in an annual seminar on peacekeeping, was denied. The Academy of Peace had organized that seminar. In that instance, Cuba took the view that the language used in the denial was out of touch with reality.
Reality today was closely intertwined with civil society, which had an important contribution to make, she said. The statements of the host country representative were in line with idea of promoting the United Nations ties with non-governmental organizations. Some of those organizations, particularly in the realm of United Nations studies, were based in the United States. Cuba had explained the problems and difficulties for optimal functioning of the Cuban Mission, and was mindful of the fact that it had been kept from interacting with other Member States themselves at certain venues. Cuba also sought to develop a dialogue with other actors.
Above and beyond General Assembly resolutions encouraging the host country to consider lifting restrictions, another argument for lifting travel restrictions was already familiar to Committee, she said. After the end of the cold war, there appeared to be a possibility that the problem would be resolved, or that constructive steps would be taken by the host country to show its willingness to answers the calls of the international community. Cuba would have expected that the host country in good faith and as a State party to most human rights instruments would abstain from unilateral measures that violated principles of multilaterialism, the underpinning of the United Nations.
Cuba encouraged the host country and its authorities to reconsider their position and thus to comply with General Assembly decisions and resolutions.
GENNADIY KUZMIN (Russian Federation) said that, unfortunately, for the n-th time, he was forced to acknowledge that travel restrictions continued to occupy one of the focal points of the Committees work. Each year the General Assembly adopted resolutions to end the illegitimate practice of accusing diplomats of disloyal conduct and harbouring of suspicion against the diplomatic corps. The representatives of the host country had probably grown tired of hearing allegations to that affect each year. But, even more tired were the permanent mission staff who were affected by those restrictions. The lost time and training that arose in every day routines in no way fostered friendly relations among States.
The situation was not getting better, he said. Outmoded approaches and stereotypes continued. The argument that restrictions corresponded to national security was unconvincing. The practice of restriction of movement of missions and Secretariat staff was discriminatory and contradicted international law. Once again, he urged authorities to lift those restrictions.
ROBERT C. MOLLER (United States) said that his delegation did not believe it was doing anything that violated international agreements. Their position had been documented and discussed at length. At no time did the United States Government feel it was in violation of a General Assembly resolution concerning the subject.
The term national security should not be taken lightly and did not only deal with espionage, he said. While he did not want to get into nit-picking over notifications, the United States did not set up any impediment of United Nations- related business. Personal travel was the issue. While he could feel honoured that the Cuban Ambassador wanted to travel in the United States, the key point was that the Town Hall Forum was not a United Nations-sponsored event. He had no reason to be there.
Regarding working relations with non-governmental organizations, such work could be carried out with those organizations at the United Nations, he said. Non-governmental organizations could also be invited to the country of the mission requesting travel authorization. Permanent Mission staff was here in the United States to attend the United Nations. Nothing in the travel programme restricted the Cuban delegation from doing United Nations work. Enough had been said. Further issues should be put in writing.
Ms. ALVAREZ (Cuba) said that discrimination was not general a principle of law under any recognized juridical system. The Cuban delegation respected all considerations that accompanied any sovereign States national security considerations. The representative of the host country knew that Cuba was respectful of international norms. Within the United Nations, Cuba had been denouncing the unilateral steps taken by some States. Cuba was talking about the rights of diplomats under international conventions. The General Assembly had exhorted the host country to reconsider its policy. The arguments made by the host country were not in line with this day and age. There was a need to take a hard look at the issue in the Committee. The host country chose travel itineraries, hotels and airline reservations. United Nations officials should not be subjected to such control.
Mr. Al-KADHE (Iraq) said that justifications to explain the restrictions ran contrary to the norms of international law. He agreed with the representative of the Russian Federation that they were exaggerated justifications. For example, Iraq had received an invitation from a church in New Jersey to attend a religious service. The United States Mission orally rejected the Ambassadors request to accept the invitation. Did accepting that invitation represent a threat to United States security?
Mr. MOLLER (United States) said that regarding the Permanent Representative of Iraq, if the United Nations were not in the United States he would not be in the country. He was here only because he was accredited to the United Nations.
Mr. Al-KADHE (Iraq) said, on behalf of the Permanent Representative of Iraq, that if the United Nations were not in the United States, he would not even have wanted to come here as a tourist.
Before turning to second item on the agenda, the CHAIRMAN asked the Committees permission for the representative of Venezuela to attend the meeting as an observer.
The Committee then turned to the second item on the agenda -- consideration and recommendation on issues arising from the implementation of the agreement between the United Nations and the United States regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations.
RICARDO LOUIS BOCALANDRO (Argentina), speaking on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, said that the lack of courtesy and regard shown by New York City police officers to members of the diplomatic corps had become a daily reality. The abusive issuance of parking tickets was well known.
While security measures to protect Heads of State during special sessions were necessary, they often caused severe treatment and a lack of respect, he said. In some instances, heads of State had been unable to access the building because police kept them from crossing First Avenue. At the upcoming Millenium Summit, more than 100 heads of State would be attending. The kind of treatment often shown to the diplomatic corps was inadmissible. The proper authorities must issue instructions to lower-level authorities to ensure that respect be given to accredited representatives.
Mr. NIEHAUS (Costa Rica) said that he wanted to reinforce the concerns that the Group felt. It seemed that there was a disconnection between the highest levels of authority in New York and the lower links of the chain. In light of diplomatic tradition, it was difficult for them to accept working in the current atmosphere in New York City. It was not a matter of getting preferential treatment, but of compliance, as set forth in the Vienna Convention, that accredited diplomats be given the facilitates to carry out their jobs.
The day after he had become the Permanent Representative, his Foreign Minister had had difficulties accessing the United Nations building, he said. It was more than just a matter of discourtesy. He had been told to use a regular license plate to get better treatment. He had received parking tickets almost every second and suffered many insults. When the United States President had visited, he had understood the need for security measures. He had tried to come to the building some 20 minutes earlier to do urgent work and it had been impossible for him to cross the street, although a number of New Yorkers defied instructions and crossed the avenue.
On the issue of parking, diplomatic parking was co-mingled with handicapped parking, he said. There was no parking on 43rd Street. They were obliged to follow host country laws. He was not asking for a favour, but that the host countrys obligation be observed. In all other host countries, diplomats were treated respectfully. He was convinced that if the competent authorities took the issue in hand and made it known, it would reach the lower of levels of authority. Perhaps there was a lack of understanding that placed them in a situation of animosity. The issue nevertheless had a long track record.
Ms. ALVAREZ (Cuba) said her delegation endorsed the statements of Cost Rica and Argentina. In light of the upcoming Millenium Assembly, the debate was timely. Cuba echoed what others said in voicing concerns as regarded certain security measures for special events at the United Nations. The situation had arisen not only at specific events, but also during visits of high-level officials of governments, Presidents and Vice Presidents. Measures taken along First Avenue impeded access of officials sometimes for more than 45 minutes. In the future, the host country must make sure that when it adopted necessary security measures, those measures not be allowed to impede access of diplomats.
Mr. MOLLER (United States) said that the United States did not deal with hypothetical situations. When such situations developed, permanent missions should let the United States Mission know in writing exactly what happened. He was glad that nobody had said that security measures should not be implemented for heads of State.
The host government did understand that there were obligations and therefore engaged in meetings months in advance to develop plans, he said. They had been successful in keeping access to the complex open. Last year, in planning for the General Assembly, only 15 delegations had showed up for such a meeting, which had been announced in the Journal for weeks. Tomorrow there would be a briefing on logistical and security measures for the Millenium Summit. While plans had not yet been formulated on exact security details, the United States would do everything to ensure that all those accredited to the United Nations would be able to function during a time of high risk.
BRADFORD BILLET, of the Office of the New York City Commissioner for the United Nations Consular Corps, told the Committee that the City was concerned with any disrespect or nonprofessionalism shown by law enforcement agenices or officials. It was difficult to deal in the abstract. If diplomats experienced any problems with the New York City Police Department, the City was concerned and would be interested in knowing details.
On the issue of parking, the City issued millions of summonses a year, he said. The amount of summons issued to diplomats represented only a small percentage. But there were times when 20 to 30 diplomatic cars were illegally parked. There was a garage that every diplomatic car could utilize. Many did not. Illegal parking by diplomats affected citizens and businesses. Diplomats could park in any legal parking as well as in designated zones and received better treatment than most in the community. As far as multiple summons, there was a process in which the summons could be adjudicated if they felt they were given without justification.
Mr. NIEHAUS (Costa Rica) said that while he regretted a tone of defensiveness, he wished to constructively comment on how to avoid difficulties. Perhaps special identification cards could be issued so that high-level representatives could move about freely during high security sessions. It should not be necessary to close the building for an hour to accommodate the visit of a head of State. Diplomats should not be addressed as if they were criminals. It required effort that security be implemented without showing discourtesy to United Nations officials.
Ms. ALVAREZ (Cuba) said that justifications for the behaviour of the host country did not adequately answer the concerns of Member States. The United States should be fully able to live up to their obligations without undermining security requirements.
Mr. BILLET said that a proactive approach was necessary. The host country was interested in any case in which a police officer dealt disrespectfully. Being informed of the particulars of such cases would help the city to determine when police officers showed disrespect. By the same token, however, members of the diplomatic community should respect law enforcement officers in dealing with its requests. With the Millenium Summit, many heads of State would be attending the United Nations. The host country, the Commission in particular, would have personnel in place to help solve whatever issues might arise. A proactive approach rather than a reactive approach would be crucial.
NOEL-EMMANUEL AHIPEAUD GUEBO (Cote dIvoire) said that his delegation supported the statements made by the Costa Rica, Argentina and Cuba. The parking issue had been raised many times. Things did not seem to be changing, which was why they wanted to take the opportunity to ask the representatives of New York City to take whatever measures they could to rectify the problem.
Cote dIvoire had a parking space, he said. Each day, a civilian car blocked that space and it was difficult to find another. Moreover, civilians often became aggressive when they were told they were parked in a diplomatic space. Although that was not the responsibility of the host country, perhaps it could do something to make the civilian population aware of spots reserved for diplomats. Diplomats were often forced to violate the laws of the host country because their reserved spaces were encumbered.
Mr. BILLET said that a telephone hotline had been setup for that purpose. The hotline number was (718) 706-6062. Diplomats could call that number to have civilian cars parked in diplomatic spaces towed. Civilians parking illegally must learn that they could not park there. By the same token, that did not give diplomats the right to park illegally because someone else had displaced them.
The Committees rapporteur, EMILIA CASTRO DE BARISH (Costa Rica) said that she had encountered the problem many times herself. Someone told her this morning that he had permission from the police to park in her spot. She sometimes bothered her friends at the United States Mission with the problem. Cars that were illegally parked did not move.
The Chairman said that the issues being discussed were serious. During the Millenium Assembly, everyone would want their head of State to be able to access the building. There had been much coordination on the part of the host country. He agreed that the Committee must be proactive in ensuring efficient security arrangements for the Millenium Assembly.
Under other matters, the Chairman said that the Permanent Mission of Canada had informed him of the departure of the Vice-Chairman of the Committee, John Holmes. He thanked Mr. Holmes for his commitment to both the Bureau and the Committee. He had been a team player.
The Committee then elected Andras Vamos-Goldman of Canada to replace Mr. Holmes as Vice-Chairman of the Committee.
Also under other matters, Mr. AL-KADHE (Iraq) said that he wanted to raise the issue of the late issuance of entry visas to Iraqi delegates. The question was nothing new. Iraqi delegations that applied for entry visas to participate in the work of the United Nations were always faced with delay. Iraq had accepted that as a fait accompli because the host country did not take recommendations of the Committee into regard on the timely issuance of visas. Iraq had observed that the delay had continued and had become almost deliberate, seriously affecting the participation of Iraq in international conferences held under the auspices of the United Nations.
He said that on 16 February, Iraq had submitted a note for the approval of the participation of an Iraq delegation to Preparatory Committee of the International Criminal Court. That delegate had previously participated in the work of the preparatory committee. The approval was issued on 14 March, more than one month later. In a second case, the Iraqi Mission applied for an entry visa for a specialist to attend a meeting of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The application was dated 6 June. Approval was given on 7 July, when UNCITRAL was about to finish its work. That delegate did not come because it would not have been worth it to participate for just a few days.
In a third case, he said, he had applied for an entry visa to attend a session of the Law of the Sea in Jamaica from 3 to 14 July. That application was submitted two weeks, rather than three weeks prior to the meeting to take place in Jamaica. Approval was given one week later, when the work of the Law of the Sea had already started.
A letter had also been submitted by the Iraqi Mission to the Secretary- General on the treatment of the Iraqi delegate to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, he said. That letter had been submitted and distributed to the Committee, and Iraq had received a reply from the United States Mission. Justification had been given by the United States on the inhumane treatment received by her upon arrival at JFK Airport. The Iraqi Mission had applied for an entry visa for her. The United States Consulate in Amman had given her a tourist visa. She had been photographed and fingerprinted and had endured the treatment of a criminal. Even if that was the accepted procedure, the delegate should have
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been informed of those measures before her arrival so that she could have decided if she wanted to come to the United States or not.
Mr. HOLMES (Canada) said that he wanted to thank the Chairman for his support and leadership of the Committee. He had learned from his leadership. He also wanted to thank the members of his delegation and the other members of the bureau, the committee and representatives of the host country. Through cooperation, all had tried to find solutions to important questions. His family had had a fantastic experience in New York and he wanted to express his gratitude to New York City officials.
Ms. CASTRO DE BARISH (Costa Rica) also thanked Mr. Holmes and welcomed the new Vice Chairman.
RUSSELL F. GRAHAM (United States) said that he wanted to express the gratitude of the host country delegation for the work of Mr. Holmes during his tenure.
In reply to the comments of the Iraq delegation, he said that the United States position with regard to the entry of Dr. Jassem into the country for the womens conference was clearly laid out in their reply. He was surprised to hear of allegations of inhumane treatment. If treatment had extended beyond fingerprinting and photographing, he would like to know. States had the right and authority to decide whom they would admit. United States procedures with regard to certain categories of people were in place for good reasons.
In the case of Dr. Jassem, she had said that she did not represent her Government. She had been asked to submit to procedures for people of her category. He had been in a secondary inspection area, and those areas were not reserved for criminals. The treatment meted out in those areas was not inhumane. If Iraq believed there were other inhumane actions, the host country would want to be appraised of them.
The United States took the issuance of visas seriously, he said. The United States had employed a second visa officer. The two visa officers spent all day every day working on issues. They spent at least an hour a day on Iraqi delegates to ensure that visas was being issued on time. The United States was careful to do what it could to ensure that people coming to the United Nations arrived in time for their meeting.
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