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Calixto Ortega:US is Obligated to Guarantee Immunity for Presidents Who Attend the UN

The United States is obligated to guarantee immunity and facilitate processes which allow heads of state from around the world to attend the United Nations General Assembly, declared Calixto Ortega, Venezuela’s charge d’affaires in the U.S.

During a telephone interview with Venezolana de Televisión on Friday morning, the diplomat indicated that President Nicolás Maduro is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly next Wednesday, September 25, at 3 p.m., following a trip to the People’s Republic of China.
Furthermore, Ortega criticized international media reporting about the U.S. refusal to allow an overflight of U.S. airspace for President Maduro’s plane.

“They try to distort what’s happening in our country,” he said.
The refusal “was real and was issued, and we have proof of that, it is a fact. … Permission was refused in writing and I have a printout of this.  There is a digital record,” he explained.

Speaking from New York, Ortega noted that the presidential plane is being treated as though it’s a civilian aircraft, “when this flight, on carrying the President of the Republic, acquires every immunity.”
He also stated that Venezuela’s overflight requests met all norms and procedures required by diplomatic flights.

Ortega considers that this situation“obliges [Venezuela] to always be on alert, absolutely on alert”about everything in order to guarantee that the President attends the UN General Assembly.
“We will maintain contact with officials from the State Department so this trip can take place with total and absolute normality,” he added.

Finally, Ortega said that President Maduro has the complete freedom and legal authority to decide who accompanies him on his visit; as such, the US “should issue visas.”

Click here to read the full transcript in English. A video of the interview in Spanish is available here: http://youtu.be/cTlDLOHB7Jc

Correo del Orinoco / Press – Venezuelan Embassy in the US / September 20, 2013

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