Russia criticizes US for Cuba, YU visa refusal

MOSCOW, Sep 1, 2000 -- (Reuters) Russia criticized the United States on Thursday for refusing to grant entry visas to Cuban and Yugoslav parliamentarians for a conference of speakers at the United Nations.

Washington has refused entry visas to Cuba's powerful parliamentary leader, Ricardo Alarcon, and the Yugoslav delegation for the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments, held by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the U.S. decision was a "flagrant violation" of its obligations to the United Nations, under which it had to facilitate the arrival of people taking part in UN events.

"Moscow hopes the United States will fulfil its international obligations and create normal conditions for representatives of all nations to work at the UN," it said.

However, although the conference is being held at the United Nations, the IPU is not a UN organization.

The meeting is one of several conferences being held ahead of next week's Millennium Summit when more than 150 kings, presidents and prime ministers come to the United Nations to examine the purpose of the world body in the 21st century.

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