Tánaiste calls for cancellation of referendum in Crimea14/3/14
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D, today urged the Russian Federation to halt moves to alter Crimea’s status as an integral part of Ukraine.
He called for the cancellation of Sunday’s referendum on the possible secession of Crimea from Ukraine and reiterated his call on Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Speaking in Paris, the Tánaiste said:
“Sunday’s referendum in Crimea is illegal. The results of the vote will be without legal effect. Ireland and the overwhelming majority of the international community do not recognise the legitimacy of the referendum nor will we accept the validity of the result, whatever that may be.
“Quite apart from its illegality, the heavy troop presence in Crimea means that the so-called referendum will not be conducted under remotely acceptable conditions.”
The Tánaiste discussed the deepening political crisis in Ukraine with the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius on Thursday in Paris. The issue also arose in his meeting this morning with President Holland. In the absence of any tangible moves by Moscow to de-escalate, the EU Foreign Ministers will need to impose further sanctions against the Russian Federation at their meeting on Monday, including targeted asset freezes and travel bans.
The Tánaiste noted that there is still time to defuse the crisis:
“Clearly the solution to the crisis must be found through negotiations between the Governments of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Ireland and our EU partners have made it clear that such negotiations need to start without further delay.
“Moscow’s concerns over the position of the Russian-speaking population in Crimea can be peacefully addressed through various channels including the OSCE and Council of Europe. I urge them to use the multilateral machinery at their disposal to resolve this and other outstanding questions.
“In the meantime, Russia must immediately withdraw its armed forces back to the areas of their permanent stationing, in accordance with the relevant agreements”.
14 March 2014