UN tourism agency suspends Russia, but Moscow says it’s stopping
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) decided on Wednesday to suspend Russia’s membership with immediate effect over its invasion of Ukraine.
It was a largely symbolic move shortly after Moscow told the agency it had decided to quit.
“The message is clear: actions will always have consequences. Peace is a fundamental human right. Guaranteed for everyone. Without exception,” UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, a Georgian whose homeland was occupied by Russia in 2008, tweeted after the vote.
More than two-thirds of the 160 member states of the UNWTO supported the resolution suspending Russia’s membership.
The vote had been planned well before Russia announced its decision to leave the organization and start a process that UNWTO said would take a year.
Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto, who chaired the Madrid-based body’s special session, said the invasion of Russia “violated the founding principles of the United Nations and the values espoused by tourism, such as peace, prosperity and universal respect,” and called for the government to be halted hostilities.
The Spanish government said in a statement that the suspension could be lifted if the Assembly detects “a change in the policy of the Russian Federation”.
The Assembly will next meet in 2023.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters the decision to withdraw from the UNWTO, which provides technical assistance to boost tourism, will not affect the sector in Russia.
“The tourism sector, especially domestic tourism, will continue to develop. The external directions for tourism are also open and depend on issues of quality and price competition,” he said, without elaborating.
The UN General Assembly earlier this month voted to expel Russia from the UN Human Rights Council over reports of human rights abuses in Ukraine, prompting Moscow to announce it would be leaving that body as well.
Russia, which describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists, has denied allegations of rights violations.
Ukraine and the West say Russia is waging an unprovoked war of aggression.
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/un-tourism-body-suspends-russia-but-moscow-says-it-quits-41595806.html UN tourism agency suspends Russia, but Moscow says it’s stopping