Secretary-General meets Russian leaders in Moscow

Secretary-General meets Russian leaders in Moscow

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with President-elect Dmitry Medvedev
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon held cordial and wide-ranging talks today with Russian president-elect Dmitry Medvedev and President Vladimir Putin, during his ongoing visit to Moscow, a United Nations spokesperson said.

Spokesperson Maria Okabe said the talks focused on UN-Russian relations, climate change, and a review of areas of international tension including Kosovo, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Georgia, among other issues.

The Secretary-General stressed the need for a pragmatic approach by all major stake-holders following the 17 February declaration of independence of Kosovo, which the UN has administered since Western forces drove out Yugoslav forces amid inter-ethnic fighting in 1999, Ms. Okabe said.

He reaffirmed the UN’s position of being neutral on the status of Kosovo and operating in accordance with Security Council resolution 1244, which set up the UN administration, she added.

She said the Secretary-General also expressed appreciation for Russia’s growing contribution to international humanitarian efforts, and hoped there would be a continued increase in Russia’s commitment in this area.