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UN tourism agency votes to suspends Russia hours after Moscow announces withdrawal

MADRID — Russia has announced it is withdrawing from the United Nations World Tourism Organization just hours before the body’s assembly voted to temporarily suspend the country’s membership over the invasion of Ukraine, officials said.

UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili makes the announcement on his official Twitter account. He says it is the first UN body to address Russia’s membership.

The organization goes ahead and approves the suspension at a special meeting in Madrid, where the organization has its headquarters.

“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s military offensive is an attack on the founding principles of the United Nations and on the values that tourism represents, such as peace, prosperity and universal respect and the observance of human rights,” Spanish Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto says in a statement following the decision.

The assembly resolution includes a clause that says the suspension could be reversed if a change in the politics of the Russian Federation were noted.

Spain is one of 22 European nations that had promoted the motion.

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