ALBA Foreign Ministers Say US Bar Some Leaders From UN Participation
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua Milano
The foreign ministers of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA) met in New York during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss political and social issues, as well as obstacles to participation by some countries in the international forum created by the United States.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua Milano said that the meeting allowed the countries to establish common positions on important policy issues.
“It’s important to reiterate that when we came to New York, we weren’t coming to visit the United States or the U.S. Government, we came to a multilateral organization of which we are a part,” he said.
“There is a constitutive treaty for this organization that gives privileges and immunities to all the heads of state and public servants that come to meetings at the United Nations headquarters.”
In an interview with the Venezuelan television station VTV, the executive secretary of ALBA, Bernardo Álvarez, read aloud from a resolution that ALBA will deliver to the United Nations. It states that the United States should not create obstacles or difficulties for participation in the UN by member countries.
“[ALBA] rejects any act or omission that makes difficult, impedes or limits the right of all member states and observer nations of the UN to participate in its proceedings, particulary in the ordinary sessions of the General Assembly,” Alvarez said.
He announced that ALBA will make a formal complaint regarding actions by the United States that made it difficult for members to participate by “delaying, setting conditions, creating obstacles, or putting off the issuing of the corresponding visas and overflight and landing permissions in the host country of the United Nations General Assembly and its Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.”
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez condemned “actions by the U.S. Government regarding the flight of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros. This is the second time something like this has occurred with a Latin American or Caribbean president. Remember what happened to President Evo Morales [of Bolivia] just a few months ago. It is intolerable for the United States to ignore international law and its legal obligations as the site of the United Nations and to commit acts or omissions that put in danger those flights that affect the free transit of dignitaries, that make visa requests difficult, to not permissions for overflight or landing or not guarantee that heads of state can reach the UN headquarters.”
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño backed the position of many other top diplomats.
“The entrance to the United Nations is becoming more difficult. We must continue to denounce this to awaken the consciousness of the international community. We cannot continue having the headquarters in countries that don’t respect international agreements. We will make a document to demand that this does not happen again,” he said.
At a meeting of the South America-Africa Cooperation Forum, the Venezuelan foreign minister mentioned President Nicolás Maduro’s explanation of the reasons he decided not to attend this General Assembly.
His decision, Jaua noted, was due to “a series of elements that complicated his presence here at the UN headquarters; first, the non authorization of the overflight over Puerto Rico on our trip to China, after the attempt to interrogate us in order to issue visas to government officials, as in the case of the head of the Honor Guard of the President, General Bernal, and the minister of the President’s office, General Barrientos, the Vice Minister for Latin America, Veronica Guerrero, absolutely inflammatory interrogations, which they said we didn’t answer, and the visas were issued later, but just the fact that they put preconditions on the official delegation that’s coming to the United Nations, those elements have to be discussed by the organization.”