7 October 2019
Seventy-fourth Session, 2nd Meeting (AM)

First Committee Suspends Meeting as Differences Flare among Delegations over Issuance of Visas

Host Country Committee Appropriate Forum, United States Stresses, as Russian Federation Accuses It of Ignoring Obligations

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met only briefly today, suspending its work so that its Bureau can conduct further consultations towards resolving differences among delegations over the host country’s issuance of visas.

Committee Chair Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz (Bolivia) updated members about concerns raised by some delegations during the Committee’s organizational meeting on 3 October.  (See Press Release GA/DIS/3621.)

Andrey Belousov (Russian Federation) attributed the situation to the host country ignoring its obligations under the Headquarters Agreement concluded with the United Nations in 1947.  Until the United States takes concrete steps, it would be premature to start the substantive part of the Committee’s work, he said.

In similar vein, Heidar Ali Balouji (Iran) said that country’s use of visa issuance as leverage against different Member States is nothing new, pointing out that his country, among others, has long struggled with unjustified delays in issuing visas or actual non‑issuance.

Robert Wood (United States) explained that the Committee on Relations with the Host Country is the appropriate forum in which to resolve visa matters, while emphasizing that the United States considers each visa application individually and takes its Headquarters obligations seriously.

The Chair then suspended the meeting while emphasizing the great importance of the Committee’s work for the United Nations and for multilateralism.  He added that the Bureau will continue working to find a solution in the coming hours so that the general debate can start as soon as possible.

Also speaking today was the representative of Liechtenstein.

The First Committee will resume its suspended meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 8 October.

For information media. Not an official record.