Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Ukraine in April 2011. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras (file)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the extension of a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine and, with continued deep concern about the situation there, urged all sides to honour their commitments and work within a political process.
In a late night statement yesterday from his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he “remains deeply concerned over the situation in eastern Ukraine but he welcomes recent measures toward de-escalation of hostilities”, including consultations among all sides and the three-day extension of the reciprocal cease-fire.
Mr. Ban said that he expects all sides “to strictly adhere to their commitments” and urged concerned parties “to work toward a definitive cessation of violence through a political process”.
President Petro Poroshenko yesterday extended a week-long ceasefire, hoping to give more time to his peace plan for the area. That plan includes de-escalatory measures such as amnesty for those who did not participate in ‘serious crimes’ disarmament; decentralization of power and early local and parliamentary elections; and a programme for creation of jobs in the region.
Some 16,400 people fled their homes in crisis-driven eastern Ukraine during the past week, bringing the number of displaced within the country to 54,000, according to figures released yesterday by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Displaced people cited worsening law and order, human rights violations and the disruption of State services are among the complex myriad of reasons for the population flows.
In last night’s statement, Mr. Ban also welcomed the release on 26 June of four international monitors working for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
He also called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of the four monitors still held in captivity.