Estonian MP Kross gets special visa to attend UN committee meeting in New York

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Photo: Peeter Langovits

Estonian MP Eerik-Niiles Kross, who has been barred from entering the United States, received a special visa to take part in a sitting of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in New York and departed for the US on Thursday.

Spokespeople for the Riigikogu told BNS on Thursday that Kross flew to the US on Thursday and should return next Tuesday.

The chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Sven Mikser, who at the beginning of last week decided to send Kross to the USA from Nov. 4 through 9, told BNS on last Thursday there is a category of visas for UN events that can be issued to individuals who have been denied a regular US visa. «With such a visa several heads of state who generally do not get a US visa have been able to attend UN events particularly in the framework of the General Assembly. It's a visa with certain restrictions, Mikser explained.

In connection with Kross being assigned to the standing Foreign Affairs Committee in spring, the question arose of whether he can take part in the work of the committee if the USA denies him an entry visa. Although President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has said he can guess why the Reformist politician has been banned from entering the USA Kross says he is not aware of the reasons.

Kross has earlier said in a letter to fellow members of the Reform Party that he certainly has not done anything that could harm US interests. He thinks it likely that he has been barred from entering the United States because of some sort of misinformation fed to the Americans. «I assume this information was forwarded by Russia, probably through one of its agents. It was probably given to the Americans in Tbilisi or Tallinn,» he said.

Kross has also been blacklisted by Russia. Russian authorities have said they suspect Kross of involvement in the 2009 hijacking of the freighter Arctic Sea.