• UN chief calls on all parties to solve Ukrainian crisis peacefully


    UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned at the latest development in the Ukrainian crisis and called on all parties concerned to solve the crisis on the basis of the principles of the UN Charter, a UN spokesman told reporters here on Monday.

    “The secretary-general continues to closely follow the situation in Ukraine,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here. “He encourages all parties to work for a resolution that is guided by the principles of the United Nations Charter, including Ukraine’s unity and sovereignty.”

    The secretary-general made the statement shortly after official results showed earlier on Monday that 96.6 percent of Crimeans voted to join Russia at Sunday’s referendum.

    “The secretary-general is deeply disappointed and concerned that the Crimea referendum will only exacerbate this situation,” Dujarric said, reading a prepared statement.

    Also on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in an early phone call that the Crimea referendum was totally legal, while the White House rejected the results.

    On Saturday, Moscow vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution, drawn up by the United States and backed by Western countries, that intends to declare the referendum invalid.

    Russia will “respect the will of the Crimean people,” said Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the United Nations, referring to the referendum in Crimea.

    The referendum in Crimea is “illegal and illegitimate” and its outcome “will not be recognized,” said a joint statement issued Sunday by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

    “The secretary-general once again urges all parties to refrain from violence and to commit themselves to de-escalation and inclusive national dialogue in the pursuit of a political and diplomatic solution,” the UN spokesman said.

    “A deterioration of the situation will have serious repercussions for the people of Ukraine, the region and beyond,” he said, adding that Ban “urges all parties in Ukraine and those with influence to avoid any steps that could further increase tensions.”

    “Above all, the secretary-general urges all concerned to intensify their efforts and engage constructively toward a peaceful solution to this crisis, with the aspiration of all the people of Ukraine foremost in mind,” the spokesman said. “The secretary-general remains ready to work with all parties to resolve this situation.”

    Since the beginning of the crisis, the secretary-general has urged all parties to avoid hasty steps in this already complex and tense situation, he said.

    “He condemns the violence which occurred over the weekend in Eastern Ukraine which resulted in injuries and loss of life on all sides,” the spokesman said. PNA


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