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UN human rights emissary cancels trip to Crimea because airport refuses to receive flights

March 11, 2014, 23:09 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
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UNITED NATIONS, March 11, 21:58 /ITAR-TASS/. Ivan Simonovic, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, has canceled his trip to Crimea because an airport in the Crimean capital Simferopol is closed for flights coming from other parts of Ukraine.

Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, confirmed to journalists earlier on Tuesday that Simferopol airport was closed to flights from other parts of Ukraine. He ruled out any possibility that Simonovic could arrive in Crimea via Moscow.

For the rest, the U.N. emissary’s plan remains unchanged. Simonovic visited Kharkov on Tuesday to meet the local authorities and representatives of civil society - both pro-Russian and those who are loyal to the authorities in Kiev. He is leaving for Lvov, Western Ukraine, on Wednesday.

Dujarric said that Simonovic was staying in Ukraine to assess the human rights situation in the country. The United Nations is considering a number of options for future actions, including the deployment of U.N. observers to monitor the situation in Ukraine.

Another United Nations emissary Robert Serry who made an attempt to visit Crimea last week had to return to Kiev after being turned away by unidentified armed men.

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