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UN chief: Geneva agreements on Ukraine to help settle crisis

April 18, 2014, 5:47 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
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UNITED NATIONS, April 18 /ITAR-TASS/. Thorough fulfillment of the agreements on Ukraine reached in Geneva on Thursday will help settle the Ukrainian crisis, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, according to his spokesman.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the initial round of diplomatic negotiations on the crisis in Ukraine, held today in Geneva,” Ban’s spokesman said Thursday.

“He is encouraged that all parties were able to agree on a number of concrete and urgent steps aimed at de-escalating the situation and finding a peaceful resolution to this crisis,” the spokesman’s statement said.

“The Secretary-General has consistently underscored that constructive and results-oriented dialogue between all concerned [parties] will be the only way to achieve a peaceful solution,” it said.

“The Secretary-General stresses that the situation in Ukraine remains extremely volatile. He expects all sides, moving forward, to show their serious intention to continue to engage, in a good-faith effort, and to implement the steps laid out in the Geneva Statement, which will contribute to a lasting solution to this crisis,” the statement said.

The key provision of the Geneva Statement adopted on Thursday after a five-hour meeting in Geneva on Ukraine that involved the foreign ministers of Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine, was the agreement that “all sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions”.

The participants “strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-Semitism”.

The statement says “all illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated”.

The statement also stipulates that “amnesty will be granted to protestors and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes”.

The Geneva document assigns a special role to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, which, it says “should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures”.

“The US, EU and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors,” it said.

The meeting participants agreed that the announced constitutional process will be “inclusive, transparent and accountable”. They also emphasized that economic and financial stability in Ukraine is important and said they would be “ready to discuss additional support”.

Ukraine saw a coup in February, which brought new people to power amid deadly riots. Crimea, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities. It held a referendum in which it decided to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. A relevant deal was signed March 18.

Moscow does not recognize the de facto Kiev authorities either.

After Crimea’s incorporation by Russia, which Kiev does not accept despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the referendum in Crimea complied with the international law, pro-federalization protests against the new Ukrainian leaders erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern territories.

Western-leaning acting Ukrainian president Alexander Turchinov, appointed by the Ukrainian parliament after February’s coup, on April 15 announced the start of an antiterrorism operation in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine, which is apparently meant as a crackdown on protests of federalization supporters.

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