US violating contract obligations as UN headquarters

Campaign News | Wednesday, 7 September 2005

Ricardo Alarcón accuses US government of denying visas to delegation from National Assembly of People’s Power to attend World Conference of Parliamentary Presidents at UN

Havana Sept 5. ONCE more, the Washington government is violating contract obligations as headquarters of the United Nations and is insulting the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IUP) and the UN, charged Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada in a message sent yesterday (September 5) to Mr. Anders Johnsson, secretary general of the IUP, after visas were denied to the delegation from Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power, who were to attend the 2nd World Conference of Parliamentary Presidents scheduled for this week at the UN in New York

History is repeating itself, the message states. The first conference took place in New York in September of 2000, in spite of Cuba’s delegation being prevented from participating by an arbitrary U.S. decision, just as it was this time.

Washington is ignoring the fact that this conference, just like the previous one, has the sponsorship and backing of the two institutions, as ratified in numerous resolutions signed by both.

"I deeply regret," Alarcón wrote, "being prevented from meeting in New York with many colleagues with whom we had arranged to do so. Assuming that the conference will go ahead, in spite of this situation in clear violation of IPU principles, I hope that this at least expresses a clear condemnation of the action taken by the United States."

Considering that the condemnation would be insufficient, the Cuban parliamentary president made two further proposals "as a full member of the conference, even if prevented from being there because of the arrogant and unwonted conduct of a country that is a not a member of the Union."

He proposes, in the first place, that the conference should express its firmest and total solidarity with the people of the United States, victims of Hurricane Katrina, especially the peoples of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The IPU should call on the entire international community to supply the urgent and indispensable aid needed to save lives that may still be saved, relieve the enormous shortages and help them to recover as quickly as possible, and to also make a special effort in the city of New Orleans, a World Heritage Site.

As a second point, he proposes that the IPU should decide not to hold future conferences or meetings on U.S. territory, including the UN headquarters in New York, where an IPU parliamentary hearing has been convened for October 31; it should be cancelled immediately. If it is not, the IPU would be ignoring one of its basic principles: that its meetings can only take place if all its members have the opportunity to participate.

This principle - concludes Alarcón in his letter - is a demand that all of the organization’s members have respected. It is absolutely unacceptable that it should be destroyed by the government of a country whose parliament does not belong to the IPU and which still has yet to pay off the huge debt of dues that it did not pay during the years in which it was part of our organization.

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