Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday he has asked the United States to explain why it has been denying visas to two prominent Russian nationals.
The two Russians in question are metals tycoon Oleg Deripaska and crooner-cum-lawmaker Joseph Kobzon.
"The U.S. side has yet to make it clear to us why he [Deripaska] and Kobzon have been denied a visa," Lavrov said, adding that his open letter was posted on the Internet.
He did not say when he sent it or when U.S. authorities denied them a visa the last time.
The issue has been repeatedly raised by Russia's top leadership, he said.
In an interview with French Le Monde in May 2008, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the United States had to offer an explanation why it had refused to issue a visa to Basic Element CEO Oleg Deripaska, or go ahead and issue it.
Lavrov is also known to have personally intervened on Deripaska's behalf, but to no avail.
The United States has barred Deripaska since 1998 and Kobzon since 1995 (although making a one-off exception) without citing any formal grounds.
MOSCOW, November 9 (RIA Novosti)
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: Oscar de la Renta Creative Genius in Pictures
Infographics: Nobel Peace Prize
During the 11th Annual Meeting to be held in Sochi from October 22 to 24, experts of the Valdai International Discussion Club will focus on whether the global community will develop ground rules for the world politics or whether it will be a game without any rules where everyone fend for themselves.