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UN deputy secretary-general to travel to Kiev March 4

March 03, 2014, 23:17 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
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UNITED NATIONS, March 03, /ITAR-TASS/. U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, currently on a visit in Kiev, will have talks with parliament-appointed acting President Alexander Turchinov and acting Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk on March 4.

Eliasson has already had talks with some diplomats, including the ambassador of Switzerland, the chair in office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and U.N. Commissioner on National Minorities Astrid Thors.

On Tuesday, March 4, Eliasson will continue consultations with the acting president and acting prime minister of Ukraine, U.N. spokesperson Martin Nesirky said on Monday, March 3.

He did not rule out that Eliasson might also travel to Moscow.

U.N. Senior Advisor Robert Serry was in Ukraine in the past several weeks after the change of power in Kiev, he met with Turchinov and Yatsenyuk but did not get in touch with ousted President Viktor Yanukovich. Last week, Serry decided against travelling to Crimea (autonomy within Ukraine) on a fact-finding mission, saying that such a trip would be impossible at the moment.

“I have since been in touch with the authorities of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and have come to the conclusion that a visit to Crimea today is not possible,” Serry said in a statement. He added that he would now proceed to Geneva, where he will brief the Secretary-General tomorrow on the mission and consult with him on next steps.

“In Crimea, I would have conveyed, also on behalf of the Secretary-General, a message for all to calm the situation down and to refrain from any actions that could further escalate an already-tense environment,” Serry said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all parties to the Ukrainian conflict to show restraint and urged respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Ban called for an immediate restoration of calm and commencement of direct dialogue between all interested parties in order to resolve the crisis, Nesirky said.

He declined to comment on the decision of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, which allowed President Vladimir Putin to send troops to Crimea (autonomy within Ukraine and home base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet).

“I have repeatedly emphasised that it is critical to ensure full respect for - and the preservation of - Ukraine’s independence, unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is now of utmost importance to restore calm, to de-escalate tensions immediately through a dialogue,” Ban told a news conference in Geneva.

The Secretary-General recalled that, in a telephone call with President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, he had urged the Russian leader to address the situation by “engaging constructively” with Ukraine’s authorities.

It is important, he added, that both sides should “lower the temperature,” refrain from rhetoric and engage in dialogue.

Ban met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on March 3 in Geneva to discuss the importance of de-escalating the situation by engaging in constructive and meaningful dialogue, according to a readout provided by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson.

The meeting, which took place on the margins of the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council, comes amid growing tensions in Ukraine’s Crimea region, where additional Russian troops and armoured vehicles have reportedly been deployed.

It also followed an urgent meeting of the Security Council on March 1, during which Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.N. Yuri Sergeyev called on the 15-member body to do everything possible to prevent military intervention by Russia. Sergeyev stressed that recent events posed a serious threat to his country’s integrity and to peace and stability in the region.

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