Secretary-General welcomes initial talks in Geneva to defuse Ukraine crisis

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (file photo)

17 April 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said he was encouraged by the initial round of diplomatic negotiations on the crisis in Ukraine held in Geneva, but stressed that all sides need to follow up words with deeds as the situation remains ‘extremely volatile.’

According to press reports, Ukraine and Russia, backed by representatives of United States and the European Union, agreed today to a series of steps to de-escalate tensions in eastern Ukraine that reportedly include demobilizing militias and vacating seized Government buildings.

In a statement from his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he was “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.

“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,” according to the statement.

Mr. Ban “has consistently underscored that constructive and results-oriented dialogue between all concerned will be the only way to achieve a peaceful solution,” his spokesperson said.

Briefing the Security Council yesterday, a senior United Nations human rights official urged steps to counter misinformation and bring to an end all incitement to hatred, discrimination and violence.

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonovic, who briefed on his two missions to the crisis-torn country in March, emphasized the strong links between chronic human rights violations in Ukraine, the Maidan protests and the tensions in the eastern part of the country.

This past weekend, tensions flared in eastern Ukraine as Lugansk, Kharkiv and Donetsk and at least 5 other cities in the region were targeted by uprisings and the seizure of Government buildings.


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