Exerpts on Ukraine from the UN Secretary-General`s press conference at the Munich Security Conference

01 Feb 2014

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`I remain seriously concerned about developments in Ukraine, including allegations of human rights violations, which is why I sent Mr. Robert Serry on a fact-finding mission to Kyiv this week.

 

As you know, Mr. Serry is my Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, but at the same time he was a former Dutch Ambassador to Ukraine. 

 

He briefed me here in Munich on his meetings in Ukraine. He met the President, the Foreign Minister and opposition leaders.

 

Yesterday evening here in Munich I met with Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara of Ukraine, and this morning, I met with Ukrainian opposition leaders, including Mr. Vitaly Klitschko.

 

I listened carefully to what the Minister and the opposition leaders had to say, and I impressed on them my growing concern about the standoff in the country.

 

I urged the Government to take bold and decisive steps to de-escalate the situation.

 

I also urged both parties to show maximum restraint and greater flexibility in the search for a solution to this crisis and design a peaceful future for their country.

 

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, you have talked to both sides [of Ukraine]. How do you personally feel? Are they capable and are they ready to find that peaceful solution? Are they ready to talk to each other?

 

SG: It is a very important question. It may be too early for me to assess what they are up to, really. My message was that I really appeal to both sides: please take a decisive action without losing time. Because there are so many people who really want to see some reforms to be taken.

 

I have taken note of what President Yanukovych signed yesterday. He is repealing this anti-demonstration [law] and [signed] the amnesty bill. I have asked them, whatever discussions there have been through national dialogue, the President and government should take an urgent action decisively, meeting and reflecting the aspirations, grievances and concerns of the people.

 

For those people who are demonstrating against the government, I also appealed that the best way is to sit down together. Even though both sides of the positions may still be far apart, just try to bridge the gap through dialogue.

 

There will always be a way to resolve your concerns and grievances. This has been my message. Let us see. I will continuously, very closely follow the situation. I heard that President Yanukovych may take certain actions soon. I hope he can do it as soon as possible. That would be helpful in resolving these issues.