United Nations, March 8 (IANS) UN special envoy to Ukraine Robert Serry will leave Kiev Saturday even as he continued his “consultations with Ukrainian and diplomatic interlocutors” in the Ukrainian capital Friday, a UN spokesperson said.
“He will then return to Jerusalem next week where he is based as the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process,” Xinhua quoted UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky as saying at a daily news briefing Friday.
“At this stage, it is not yet known when he will return to Ukraine. But he will continue to assist the secretary general, as required, in his good offices to promote urgently needed de-escalation and a peaceful political resolution of the country’s current crisis,” he added.
Serry was dispatched last week by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Ukraine and went to the crisis-gripped Crimea to take stock of and evaluate the situation in the heavily ethnic Russian region of southern Ukraine. He left Kiev for Crimea late Tuesday.
However, his peace mission was disrupted Wednesday when a group of armed men blocked his car in Crimea, forcing him to flee on foot.
“He is in good shape physically,” Deputy UN Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told reporters here Wednesday via an audio link from Kiev.
“He was not kidnapped but he feels seriously threatened” by “a mixed group of 10-15 men with varying degrees of arms”, Eliasson said after Serry telephoned him from a cafe in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea.
The spokesperson described the announcement of a referendum on Crimea’s future status as a worrying and serious development. “In this regard, the secretary general urges the authorities in Ukraine, including in Crimea, to treat this matter with calm,” he said.
Nesirky said that all concerned should think about the implications of any hasty actions or decisions taken in this highly-charged moment. “The secretary general cannot emphasise enough the need for peace and stability in the region.”
Asked how the crisis in Ukraine could affect diplomacy on Syria, the spokesperson said that “the two issues were entirely separate”, noting the US and Russian governments are cooperating to push for an international peace conference on Syria.