Moving UN HQ Out of US to Neutral Ground ‘Reflects Evolution’ of ‘Multipolarity’

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In this Sept. 13, 2005, file photo, the flags of member nations fly outside the General Assembly building at the United Nations headquarters in New York.InternationalIndiaAfricaJames TweedieSergey Lavrov agreed this week with the suggestion that the UN should move to a another venue outside the US Professor Alfred de Zayas, former UN independent expert on international order, said that would chime with the new global “multipolarity.”Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s call for the United Nations to move its HQ out of the US was a justified response to Washington’s repeated “violations” of its neutrality, a former official has said.Washington’s decision to deny visas to accredited Russian journalists to cover their country’s presidency of the UN Security Council (UNSC) prompted Lavrov to call for the club of nations to move its headquarters from New York to a site in a more neutral country. “I think that would be good for New York,” Lavrov said in reply to a journalist’s question during his visit to the building to deliver a speech to the UNSC — which was scathing in its criticism of the US and its closest allies.Cuban-American former UN official Alfred de Zayas told Sputnik that such a move would be appropriate in a “multipolar” world emerging from US “hegemony,” and only just given Washington’s “multiple violations of the headquarters agreement.””Relocating UN headquarters to neutral ground increasingly appears like a sensible and implementable idea, which also reflects the evolution of the world since 1945 and the necessity to facilitate multilateralism and multipolarity,” de Zayas said.He said that since the UN was founded in 1945, the US had repeatedly violated several of the international body’s conventions, “making it difficult for the organization to pursue its work without logistical problems resulting from arbitrary policies dictated by Washington.”The expert on the UN Charter pointed out that the organisation only moved into the building when it was completed six years after its founding at the end of the Second World War. Before that it often met at the former League of Nations seat in Geneva, Switzerland.”Because of US misconduct as a host, many country delegations feel that a change of venue could enable the organization to function more efficiently in the future,” de Zayas argued. “Many delegations object to the difficulties in obtaining visas to enter the United States.”He recalled how the US denied entry to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in 1988. “The General Assembly moved to Geneva, where Arafat was received with a standing ovation as he walked the aisle to the podium.””The current problems encountered by Sergei Lavrov and his Delegation are not new. Cuban, Iranian, Nicaraguan, Syrian, Venezuelan diplomats have all endured the discriminatory ‘red tape’ ordered by Washington,” the former official noted.WorldRussian FM Lavrov Chairs UNSC Meeting on ‘Effective Multilateralism’24 April, 14:10 GMTBut moving the UN to a new home would take “at least five years” and cost “an enormous amount of money,” he warned, while its budget is “always stretched to the limit.” “The Biden administration is hostile to the UN, but still wants to use it as a tool of its geopolitical agenda,” de Zayas pointed out, but recalled that in 2017 some Republicans in Congress unsuccessfully launched a bill to withdrew from the body and ask it to vacate the New York complex.But he explained that there was no “protocol” for making the move, which would have to be discussed by the UN General Assembly and subject to official reports into its “impact assessments.””The main thing is to start the debate and rely on the media to discuss the main reasons for such a move,” de Zayas said. “There are legitimate grievances that the US has systematically ignored. Maybe the BRICS countries should join forces in making the necessary proposals.”As for which country could give the UN a new home, he suggested Mexico among others, especially “the cities of Puebla and Guadalajara, which have advanced infrastructure,” or Brazil, “either Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo.””South Africa would be a credible candidate, and the cities of Cape Town or Durban would be worthy venues,” De Zayas added. “India, the most populous country in the world, would benefit from UN presence — Delhi and Bangalore have much international experience.”

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