1 Mar 2022 02:20

Lavrov's non-admission to UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva unlawful, counterproductive - Russian envoy

MOSCOW. March 1 (Interfax) - The non-admission of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva is unlawful and counterproductive, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said.

"We have been working with the UN Secretariat, since this is a UN event absolutely unrelated to bilateral relations with other countries, including those in Europe. The decision to deny admission to the minister is unlawful," Gatilov said in an interview published by the newspaper Izvestia.

"We have said so and we believe that this is counterproductive, because it does not allow to relay the Russian stance on essential items on the agenda, including at the UN Human Rights Council," he said.

Moscow "has made attempts to have this decision against the minister reversed," Gatilov said.

As to whether Russia might be expelled from the UN Commission on Human Rights, he said, "This is not on the agenda for now, but any turn of events is possible."

"Anyway, we believe that the deprivation of any state of the right to participate in the activity of international organizations and mechanisms is counterproductive," Gatilov said.

It was reported earlier with the reference to the Russian embassy to Switzerland that a visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Geneva planned for February 28 and March 1 had been cancelled over the ban on the flight of his plane through the airspace of several EU countries. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that "an appeal to the UN Secretariat was unsuccessful."

Lavrov was planning to take part in a high-level session of the UN Human Rights Council and a disarmament conference, as well as to meet with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and a number of foreign colleagues.