United Nations Secretary-General visits Russia, Ukraine
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – Photo: REUTERS
Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the focus of the two trips would be on discussing the urgent measures to be taken to restore peace in the region. Ukraine.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) will visit Russia first on April 26 and have a meeting and lunch with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Russian President Putin will receive Mr. Guterres after this meeting.
The Kremlin confirmed the visit, but did not provide further details such as what was discussed and who Guterres would meet further.
On April 28, Guterres will visit Ukraine and meet with Ukraine’s foreign minister and President Zelensky.
According to Reuters news agency, the two trips come not long after Guterres sent private letters to the Russian and Ukrainian delegations to the United Nations. In it, he proposed to visit and meet directly the heads of the two countries.
The AFP news agency commented that Guterres’ request to meet directly with Putin and Zelensky was an attempt to regain the initiative of the United Nations in resolving issues related to the conflict in Ukraine.
The UN Secretary-General and President Zelensky have had little contact since the outbreak of hostilities. According to public information, the two sides only spoke by phone once on March 26.
Meanwhile, President Putin has not taken Guterres’s phone or made any contact since the UN chief called Russia’s military action in Ukraine a violation of the UN charter.
Secretary-General Guterres has repeatedly called for humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people. Most recently, on April 19, he called for a ceasefire in Ukraine to open humanitarian corridors for civilians during Orthodox Holy Week.
However, fighting still broke out, notably in the city of Mariupol located on the Sea of Azov.
Asked about this, Eri Kaneko – another spokesman for Mr. Guterres – said the UN secretary general was “not too disappointed that his personal appeals were not heeded”.
According to Ms. Kaneko, the most disappointing thing is that there are no temporary ceasefires for UN humanitarian aid goods to reach the people of Ukraine.
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