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Thank you for the opportunity of meeting with you today.
A visit to Russia at this time is taking place in a very sober atmosphere and I am here with a heavy heart.
As Secretary-General of the United Nations it is my responsibility and duty to do my utmost to promote international peace and security.
I am seriously concerned that developments in Ukraine and the increasing tensions between Ukraine and Russia pose grave risks to the countries themselves, the region and beyond.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I just concluded a very productive and constructive meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
Before that, I also had a very good discussion with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
During our discussion, the President and I exchanged views on how we can work together to resolve the current crisis.
As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia is critical to the maintenance of international peace and security – nowhere more so than in this region.
President Putin has been one of the most important partners to the United Nations and he has been an international leader who has repeatedly called for international disputes to be solved within the framework of the United Nations Charter.
During our meeting, I have emphasized that all parties refrain from any hasty or provocative actions that could further exacerbate an already very tense and very volatile situation. Inflammatory rhetoric can lead to further tensions and possible miscalculations, as well as dangerous counter-reactions.
Intimidation by radical elements must be prevented at all costs.
I was profoundly concerned by the recent incident where Ukrainian military bases were taken over.
It is at moments like this in history that a small incident can quickly lead to a situation spiralling out of anyone’s control.
An honest and constructive dialogue between Kyiv and Moscow is essential.
I told President Putin that I understand his legitimate concerns related to the situation of the Russian minority in Ukraine. I have said from the beginning of this crisis that it is critical that the human rights of all people in Ukraine, especially minorities, must be respected and protected.
In this connection, I have noted the recent commitment by Prime Minister [Arseniy] Yatsenuyk of Ukraine to reinstate Russian as an official language in Ukraine and other positive measures.
The best way to address concerns for the respect of human rights is for all concerned authorities to support and welcome the United Nations human rights monitors to give us an objective assessment as to what is happening on the ground. Some of those monitors are starting to deploy in Ukraine, including the eastern and south-eastern part of the country.
Tomorrow, I will continue my diplomatic mission by traveling to Kiev to meet with Acting President [Oleksandr]Turchynov and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, as well as other officials and civil society organizations.
It is clear that that we are at a crossroad. I will continue to fulfil my duty as Secretary-General of the United Nations and engage with all relevant parties. We must employ every possible diplomatic tool at our disposal to solve this crisis, which has grave political and economic ramfications.
The world is watching and history will judge us on how we assume our responsibilities and our actions as they relate to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter.
I will do whatever I can do to help restore good relations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine – two brotherly countries and two founding members of the United Nations.
The OSCE today started to deploy a team of 15 international experts to Ukraine as part of a National Dialogue project to identify areas for further OSCE activities to support confidence-building between different parts of Ukrainian society.
The project team will be deployed for four weeks in selected locations agreed with the Ukrainian government to gather information about issues of concern, in particular political, humanitarian and minority issues.
The project aims to contribute to a peaceful and sustainable political transition in the country and to immediately address problematic issues through supporting a national, inclusive and impartial dialogue throughout Ukraine.
The team is being deployed following a request by Ukraine. The project will be carried out by the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine.
The 15-person expert team is headed by a Team Leader, Ambassador Hidajet Biščević of Croatia, and supported by ten locally-recruited administrative staff, interpreters and drivers.
The team will submit a final report with concrete recommendations on how the OSCE can support dialogue and restore confidence in Ukraine on the local, regional and national levels.
Note to editors:
This National Dialogue project is different from other initiatives taken by OSCE and its participating States, such as
- the visit by military and civilian personnel from OSCE participating States to Ukraine under the Vienna Document 2011 to dispel concerns of unusual military activity; or
- the election observation mission for the early presidential elections in Ukraine scheduled for 25 May 2014;
- a possible future monitoring mission, which will go ahead if agreed by consensus of the 57 participating States.
20 March at 4 p.m. in the State Duma will begin consideration of the draft federal law on the ratification of the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on the adoption in the Russian Federation Republic of Crimea and the Education Act of the Russian Federation new subjects. "
http://www.duma.gov.ru/legislative/planning/plenary-meeting-schedule/a presentation will be made by the official representative of the President of the Russian Federation's Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov.
The Secretary-General is departing New York this afternoon for a visit which will take him to the Russian Federation and to Ukraine as part of his diplomatic efforts to encourage all parties to resolve the current crisis peacefully.
The Secretary-General has consistently called for a solution that is guided by the principles of the United Nations Charter.
His first stop will be Moscow, where tomorrow, 20 March, he will meet with President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other senior officials.
The Secretary-General will travel on Friday, 21 March, to Kiev, where he will hold talks with Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and other officials.
While in the Ukrainian capital, he will also meet with members of the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission and representatives of civil society.
The decision by President Vladimir V. Putin to snatch Crimea away fromUkraine, celebrated in a defiant treaty-signing ceremony in the Kremlin on Tuesday, threatens to usher in a new, more dangerous era. If it is not the renewed Cold War that some fear, it seems likely to involve a sustained period of confrontation and alienation that will be hard to overcome. The next reset, if there ever is one, for the moment appears far off and far-fetched.
“This is an earthquake, and not a 4-point earthquake,” said Toby T. Gati, a longtime Russia specialist who served in President Bill Clinton’s State Department and now works on business deals for the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. While it is not a return to the Cold War, she said, it does dispel the dreams of 1989. “Europe whole and free? Well, it’s a Europe free-for-all. And we don’t know how to react to it. And we don’t know how to control the narrative anymore.”
Stephen J. Hadley, who was President George W. Bush’s national security adviser, said it would be harder to recover from this clash than in the past because Mr. Putin is effectively rejecting the international order established after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “He wants to rewrite the history that emerged at the end of the Cold War,” Mr. Hadley said. “We have fundamentally different approaches to what Europe is going to be.”
President Obama spoke this morning with Chancellor Merkel regarding Russia's violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. The leaders condemned Russia's moves to formally annex Crimea, which is a violation of international law, and noted there would be costs.
They agreed it was vital to send international monitors from the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations to southern and eastern Ukraine immediately. Both leaders agreed to continue to underscore to Russian President Putin that there remains a clear path for resolving this crisis diplomatically, in a way that addresses the interests of both Russia and the people of Ukraine.
Finally, the leaders discussed ways to support Ukraine as it works to stabilize its economy and prepare for elections in May. They noted the importance of bilateral as well as multilateral support for Ukraine, including through the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
The two leaders agreed to continue to coordinate closely on the situation in Ukraine in the days to come, including at the G-7 meeting in the Hague