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UN tourism body suspends Russia’s membership over Ukraine war, Moscow says it quit

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The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) suspended Russia’s membership over the invasion of Ukraine, while Moscow told the agency it had decided to quit.

Secretary General of the UNWTO Zurab Pololikashvili said after the vote: “UNWTO Members have made their voices heard and decided to suspend Russia from UNWTO membership. The message is clear: Actions will always have consequences. Peace is a fundamental human right. Guaranteed to all. Without exception.”

The UN tourism board approved the suspension of Russia with more than two-thirds of members backing the resolution.

The move to suspend Russia’s membership was presented at by the UNWTO Executive Council at its emergency meeting last month.

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“The Russian delegation declined to step up and defend its position, and instead announced its withdrawal from UNWTO before the debate took place,” the UNWTO said on Wednesday.

Russia’s Ambassador to Madrid Yury Korchagin said at the organization’s extraordinary General Assembly: “We have to state that the UNWTO has been practically monopolized by a number of member states using it in its joint interest.”

“The decision is being pushed through to suspend Russia’s membership which we view as an illegitimate and politically motivated move in order to demonstratively punish an existing member of the organization who implements independent domestic and foreign policy,” state news agency TASS quoted him as saying.

He added: “We do not consider it rational to continue working at the organization.”

Earlier this month, the UN General Assembly suspended Russia from the Human Rights Council over “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” committed in Ukraine.

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

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