Mayor's move on UN perks is just the ticket

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The Independent Online
It may be the single greatest luxury enjoyed by foreign envoys to the United Nations in New York: thanks to their diplomatic immunity they can park where they like. As fast the police put tickets on their windscreens they throw them away.

No more. In a move certain to endear him to the ordinary mortals of Gotham, the new American ambassador to the UN, Bill Richardson, joined Mayor Rudolph Giuliani yesterday to announce the passing of such privileges. From 1 April, any diplomat who parks illegally will have to pay up.

It is a moral victory for Mr Giuliani who has already made political mileage from the parking issue. When two diplomats from Russia and Belarus got into a scuffle with police in January after parking in front of a fire hydrant, the mayor demanded both countries recall them.

For Mr Richardson, it is a good start to his goal of building good relations with the city. At the weekend, he was spied crossing into Brooklyn for practice in a boxing gym. Siding with the mayor on scofflaw dips will earn him high marks indeed.