All diplomats attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week will have to provide proof of vaccination, the city government confirmed Wednesday, sparking anger from Russia.
Delegates must be vaccinated to enter the debate hall, the mayor’s office told the assembly president in a letter dated September 9.
They must also be vaccinated if they want to eat or exercise indoors, the letter added.
New York began enforcing a vaccine mandate on Monday, requiring proof of at least one shot for many indoor activities, including restaurants and entertainment venues.
The letter signed by New York City’s health commissioner and confirmed by his spokesman said the UN debate hall was classified as a “convention center,” meaning all attendees must be vaccinated.
“They must also show proof of vaccination prior to dining, drinking or exercising indoors on the UN campus, and in order to partake in all of New York City’s wonderful entertainment, dining and fitness activities,” he said.
Russia’s ambassador requested an urgent Thursday meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the move.
Vassily Nebenzia wrote to assembly president Abdulla Shahid Wednesday saying he had been “very much surprised and disappointed” by a letter Shahid wrote to members in which he supported the proof of vaccination requirement.
“We strongly object that only people with a proof of vaccination should be admitted to the GA hall,” Nebenzia wrote in the letter seen by AFP.
He described it as “a clearly discriminatory measure,” adding that preventing delegates to access the hall was a “clear violation of the UN charter.”
The letter also reminded diplomats that New York state requires everyone to wear masks on public transport.
“New York City strongly encourages universal mask use indoors regardless of vaccination status,” the note added.
The 76th session of the General Assembly starts on Tuesday and finishes the following Monday.
It will be a combined in-person and remote event after last year’s version took place virtually because of the pandemic.
New York accepts all vaccines that have been approved by either the World Health Organization or America’s federal Food and Drug Administration.