Ban asks Assad to stop civilian killings in Syria

UN chief Ban-Ki-moon asked Syrian President Bashar-al Assad to stop crackdown on civilian protesters in his country.

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2011, 22:19 PM IST

Dhaka: UN chief Ban-Ki-moon on Tuesday asked
Syrian President Bashar-al Assad to stop crackdown on civilian
protesters in his country and said he was in constant
discussion with Arab leaders to resolve the crisis.

"It is crucially important now that President Assad
immediately stop killing his own people," he told a press
conference in Dhaka at the fag end of his four-day Bangladesh
tour.

The UN Secretary General, who earlier hailed the Arab
League for suspending the country`s membership, said he was in
constant discussion with the body on the Syrian issue and
asked the Arab states to exercise their "leadership" in
resolving the crisis "as soon as possible".

"This is a source of great concern not only for the region
but for the whole international community, for democracy and
humanity," he said as the Syrian regime appeared to have
intensified violent actions against protesters.

Rights activists said more than 70 people were killed
in violence across Syria yesterday in one of the bloodiest
days since the anti-regime protests began eight months ago.

Asked for comments on the Libyan situation, he expressed
hope that the interim leadership would be able to form a
cabinet to run the country towards a smooth transition after
the fall of Gaddafi regime.
"It is beginning of the end and not the end of the
beginning," he said.

He also said that the United Nations was ready to offer
technical and logistic support for staging credible elections
in Bangladesh but urged politicians to "look beyond party
lines" and focus on the future of the country.

"UN is ready to provide any technical and logistic
assistance to hold the (scheduled) 2014 elections in a
credible manner," he said when asked if the United Nations
would offer mediation to resolve the political standoff on the
issue of establishing a caretaker government to hold
elections.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s ruling Awami League
scrapped the system of the caretaker government in line with a
Supreme Court verdict but the main opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) has vowed not to take part in the
polls unless the system is restored allowing a non-party
interim government to oversee the general elections.
The top UN executive said during his talks with Prime
Minister Hasina and opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia he
told them that all differences of opinions among them should
be resolved through dialogue.

"Since 2008, Bangladesh has achieved great progress for
democracy. However, there is much to be done (and) the next
elections should be held in a credible manner," he said.

In his introductory prepared statement, Ban, however,
praised Bangladesh`s progress in the health sector
particularly in reducing maternal and child mortality as well
as in women empowerment, contribution to the UN peacekeeping
operations and carbon neutral policy calling the South Asian
nation a model for other countries.

"Bangladesh is in the frontline of development challenges
and also in the frontline of development solutions," he said.

PTI