Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he plans to discuss the situation in Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February, with Russian officials during his visit to Moscow this week.
In an interview with UN Radio ahead of the visit, which begins on Wednesday, Mr. Ban noted that there have been incidents of violence in Kosovo – which came under UN administration after Western forces drove out Yugoslav forces amid inter-ethnic fighting in 1999.
“At this time, the situation on the ground is rather calm but it is absolutely necessary for the international community and parties concerned to make sure that we’ll be able to keep peace and stability on the ground,” he stated.
“Therefore, the parties concerned should refrain from taking any unilateral action which may exacerbate the current situation or which may incite violent measures,” he added.
Mr. Ban also stated that the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) will continue to exercise its authority in the area unless the Security Council decides otherwise.
Other issues to be discussed during Mr. Ban’s three-day visit, his first to Russia since taking office, include a proposed conference on the Middle East peace process to be hosted by Russia and the situation in the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur.
While in Moscow, he is expected to meet with Russian Government leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as the Deputy Chairman of the State Duma and civil society leaders.
In addition, he is scheduled to speak at Moscow State University and address the launch of the UN Global Compact’s Russia network.