UNITED NATIONS, March 10 /ITAR-TASS/. The U.N. Security Council will convene for a closed-door meeting on Monday evening, March 10, to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
The meeting is scheduled for 15:00 EST (Monday midnight in Moscow). It was convened in reply to Ukraine’s request filed last Friday, March 7.
Since February 28, the Security Council has held four meetings on Ukraine. Two of them were open to the press and two were held behind closed doors. At the latest meeting on Thursday, March 6, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson briefed the Council from Kiev by teleconference. He has returned to New York since then, having been replaced in Ukraine by Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic.
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 March 1, 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.
Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said that the U.N. Security Council had so far not adopted any documents, resolutions or official statements of its president or semi-official statements for the press regarding the situation in Ukraine.
He said that “the majority of non-Western members of the U.N. Security Council have assumed a very cautious position and do not make any categorical statements. The delegation of China offers us its moral support.”
“The U.N. may play a role in principle. The U.N. Secretary-General shows interest in playing a role in trying to settle the crisis in Ukraine. This is why he sent his first deputy there, who is there now, and sent some other of his representatives over there,” Churkin said.
“But the centre of our diplomatic activity lies in our contacts with the United States, and the talks our Minister Sergei Lavrov has held with [U.S. Secretary of State] John Kerry in Paris at first and then in Rome, as far as I understand, will be continued,” he said. “It’s all in the hands of our minister of foreign affairs and the U.S. secretary of state and naturally in the hands of the top leaders of our two countries,” Churkin said.