UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Security Council meetings will return, next week, to the venue where they belong -- the Security Council Chamber with the trademark horseshoe-shaped table in the middle, almost seven months after a lockdown by the coronavirus.
"On the eighth (of October), for the first time we will go to the chamber for an in-person meeting," said Russian UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia on Thursday.
Before Oct. 8, the Security Council will be holding in-person meetings in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber, as it has been doing since mid-July, he told reporters.
Despite the reopening of the Security Council Chamber, the council will also be holding virtual meetings, especially for the open debates, which may involve high-level turnout, said Nebenzia, whose country holds the council presidency for the month of October.
New York's current travel requirement of a 14-day quarantine makes foreign dignitaries virtually impossible to attend in-person meetings at UN Headquarters.
Nebenzia said there was overwhelming agreement among Security Council members by the end of September to return to the proper chamber for meetings. Germany was a strong advocate of the initiative, he said.
During Germany's council presidency in July, the Security Council resumed in-person meetings in the ECOSOC Chamber, the first time in four months.
Nebenzia said additional precautionary measures will be taken for the meetings in the Security Council Chamber, which is less spacious than the ECOSOC Chamber.
"We are not, of course, reckless. We understand the risks. We are planning to uphold the necessary, reasonable, and feasible precautionary measures in the chamber," said Nebenzia.
"The agreement was that, of course, we will wear masks, and besides that, we will have partitions between the delegations that we volunteered to make."
Nebenzia said the Russian delegation entered the Security Council Chamber on Thursday to test-install a sample partition with the help of the UN Secretariat.
"Today was -- I hesitate to call it this way -- but it was a historic event. We finally went into the Security Council Chamber after nearly seven months of absence," said the Russian ambassador.
The Security Council began to meet entirely virtually in mid-March as a result of COVID-19. The council has held sporadic in-person meetings in the ECOSOC Chamber since July 14.
The virtual mode forced the Security Council to shift to interim procedures for the conduct of its business, including how the agenda was agreed on and how resolutions were adopted. No interpretation between languages was made available in the virtual meetings.