U.S. Denies Entry to Former NATO Chief

Jun 28, 2018, 19:12
U.S. Denies Entry to Former NATO Chief

Javier Solana, a veteran Spanish politician who was North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general from 1995 to 1999, has been denied electronic authorization to enter the United States, a formality known as ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

USA authorities rejected Solana's application for entry through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

The ESTA "determines the eligibility of visitors from certain countries to travel to the United States without having to apply for a visa", noted the Times.

"It's a petty decision", he told Spanish television, explaining he had gone to Iran in 2013 to attend President Hassan Rohani's swearing-in ceremony.

"I went there to represent all those who had been involved in the negotiations", he told Spanish TV.

Citizens of the 38 countries in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program who have visited the blacklisted countries-which include Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen-do not get the waiver.

"What they have (in the United States) is a computer with an algorithm, and if it knows that you went to Iran recently, it takes you off the system", he said.

Solana was disappointed and said such an outcome was not desirable since people had to visit these countries to continue with the negotiations.

However, Solana did tell the New York Times the rejection was likely "to be more bureaucratic than political", and that he was in the process of applying for a US visa.

The visa rules date from the Obama administration, and are unconnected to President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban, which targets Iran and five other Muslim-majority countries.

Solana noted that in the U.S.it also intends to work as a Professor at several American universities. Ignoring the advice of many of his own advisors, Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May despite fierce opposition from Brussels.

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