Statement of Former Secretary General of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer

Vienna, March 21, 2014. The solution of the Ukrainian and Crimean crisis is dialogue and diplomatic efforts which include all parties concerned, as former Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Walter Schwimmer, stated in response to President Obama's list of sanctions of Russian top officials. The world of 2014 does not need a new Cold War. It needs de-escalation instead of a spiral of sanctions. We fully share Mr. Schwimmer's view that it is a particular mistake to „sanction“ Vladimir Yakunin, not only President of Russian Railways but founder and president of World Public Forum – Dialogue of Civilizations. Vladimir Yakunin has devoted since more than a decade a lot of efforts, time as well as activities, to dialogue among different religions, cultures and nations as the alternative to armed conflicts. He has stood up against hatred, xenophobia, antisemitism as well as Islamophobia. His efforts are appreciated by many people throughout the world, including the United States of America. We want Vladimir Yakunin to continue without interruption and hindrance his work for a better and peaceful world where dialogue prevails. We demand that President Yakunin enjoys free access to all United Nations Headquarters including New York as chairman of an NGO with consultative status in UN Economic and Social Council.