A Russian lawmaker has asked the United Nations to move its headquarters out of the United States and to a neutral country such as Switzerland.
Igor Zotov, a member of the defense committee of the lower house of Russia's parliament State Duma, wrote a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavroc requesting that the headquarters of the intergovernmental organization be moved to a more neutral country, claiming the U.S. is using its position of power to leverage against its political opponents, reported The International Business Times.
"I do believe that the deployment of the UN in one of the member countries of the Security Council was a mistake," Russian newspaper Izvestia quoted Zotov as saying. "In today's conditions, strengthen its role as the ultimate arbitrator on the international arena rather than become a tool of influence in the hands of the United States," he added, according to Russia's Tass news agency.
Zotov says that with the U.N. headquarters in its current location in New York City, the U.S. is able to manipulate the work of the General Assembly through "selective" access of other countries' politicians to the working meetings of the assembly, according to RT.
The initiative was apparently prompted by an incident that occurred last week in which the U.S. placed restrictions on the visa of the chair of the Russian upper house, Valentina Matviyenko, who planned on attending an inter-parliamentary conference at the U.N. headquarters. The entire Russian delegation had to cancel its participation and Matviyenko had to reschedule her meeting with Ban, according to RT.
"The visa issuance procedure allows Washington to influence the presence of representatives of undesired or partially recognized states at sessions of the UN General Assembly or working meetings as part of activity of other international institutions of the organization," he said.
"The benefits of the public discussion prompted by the initiative to move the UN headquarters are obvious," Zotov continued. "It will allow nations to get a different view of the UN's place in the modern world and yet another time raise the question of fundamental problems in this organization and its adapting to modern realities."