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To Russia With Condolences: You Can Have the U.N.

Wednesday, 16 May 2001 12:00 AM

It's a bit premature, though, for U.N. delegates from all over the world to be filling out forwarding-address cards at the New York post office.

Getting the international agency's green-glass global headquarters out of midtown Manhattan is still only an idea ... but then, so was putting it there in the first place.

This time the idea comes from Moscow. So it has to be taken seriously. Or not.

According to Interfax news service in that fair city the idea is the brainchild of one Dmitriy Rogozin, chairman of the Russian Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee.

He confided this week to the world that he is motivated by humanitarian concerns, out of compassion for the United Nations and its worthy envoys and employees who have to suffer so on the west bank of the scenic East River.

Americans sometimes take actions that are harmful to the United Nations, he said, such as raising the possibility in Congress that the United States won't pay some $224 million in back U.N. dues just because it got kicked off the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which roosts in Geneva.

Ergo, said Rogozin:

"If the Americans do not change their position and if the international personnel does not feel comfortable in New York as a result, we may suggest that the U.N. headquarters be transferred to the Venice of the North, St. Petersburg."

Venice of the North? Gondolas on the Neva in December?

Whatever.

St. Petersburg, nee Leningrad, nee St. Petersburg will provide all the conditions that the U.N. headquarters requires to function, Rogozin volunteered.

All the conditions? That's good news.

Like all the millions the United States will no longer be paying to subsidize the United Nations?

Even the free on-street parking the New York Police Department allows U.N. delegates' limos with "Diplomat" tags?

"Most importantly," Rogozin added, "Russia has the goodwill to host that important international organization."

Not to mention all the goodwill Russia would pick up in the United States for taking the United Nations off its hands.

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It's a bit premature, though, for U.N. delegates from all over the world to be filling out forwarding-address cards at the New York post office. Getting the international agency's green-glass global headquarters out of midtown Manhattan is still only an idea ... but then,...
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2001-00-16
Wednesday, 16 May 2001 12:00 AM
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