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Obama meets Ban Ki moon to discuss Libya

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 12:27

Washington: US President Barack Obama met
UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon to discuss further steps in
the international bid to deter the violence by Libyan dictator
Muammar al-Gaddafi against anti-government protesters in the
African nation.

Obama met Ban at his Oval office of the White House
"With respect to Libya, the Secretary General
indicated that he intended to name a senior-level person to
coordinate the United Nations humanitarian and political
efforts with respect to Libya," US Ambassador to the UN Susan
Rice told reporters at the White House.

"That was something that we had encouraged and
welcomed. So there was a real effort discussed and agreed that
would help to coordinate and consolidate both the humanitarian
response, particularly with respect to Libya, and the
political efforts to help support the democratic
transformations that we hope are underway in various parts of
the region," she said.

The UN has played a positive and important role in
efforts to end the bloodshed there and to hold the Gaddafi
regime accountable, Rice said, adding that "Indeed, in Libya,
the United Nations is demonstrating the indispensable role
that it can play in advancing our interests and defending our

Rice said Obama and Ban also discussed the region
broadly and the international efforts, including those led and
coordinated by the United Nations, to be responsive to
developments in each of these countries.
"So, for example, the Secretary General reported that
he has sent high-level teams to both Egypt and Tunisia to
engage those governments about the process of transition and
the political support that the United Nations and the
international community might be able to provide in support of
those political transitions," she said.

Obama and Ban discussed the situation elsewhere in the
Middle East as well as the situation in C’te d’Ivoire. "With
respect to C’te d’Ivoire, they expressed their concern about
the escalation of violence there and the need to enable the
legitimately elected president, Alassane Quattara, to assume
responsibility for governing C’te d’Ivoire," she said.

Sudan referendum was also discussed during the

"They discussed the vital work that the UN and the
international community have still to do, along with the
parties to the Sudanese conflict, to resolve outstanding
issues and ensure lasting peace as the South gains its
independence in July of this year," Rice said.

The President and the Secretary General also shared
ideas to build on the strengths of the United Nations while
pursuing and implementing important management reforms as well
as budgetary discipline.

"Obama reaffirmed the administration’s strong belief
that the United Nations continues to play a vital role in
addressing tough, global and transnational threats, and in
doing so, its work enhances the safety and well-being of the
American people," Rice said.
Obama, UN chief raise Ivory Coast concerns

US President Barack Obama and
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern about
rising violence in the Ivory Coast, US ambassador to the
United Nations Susan Rice said.

"They expressed their concern about the violence there
and the need to enable the legitimately elected president to
be able to govern," Rice told reporters at the White House.

Obama and Ban met at the White House yesterday as UN
sources said forces loyal to strongman Laurent Gbagbo opened
fire on UN sanctions experts who tried to check on a suspected
breach of an international arms embargo of the country.

Ban later toured the Holocaust Memorial Museum in
Washington, where he told reporters that Gbagbo should step
down and hand power to his rival in a presidential election
held in November, Alassane Ouattara.
The international community has widely recognized
Ouattara as the winner of the election, but Gbagbo, who has
been in power for 10 years and survived a bid to oust him in
2002, has refused to accept the result and stand aside.

"The winner of the election in Cote d`Ivoire is Mr
Ouattara, and Mr Gbagbo should cede power to preserve peace
and stability and the future of Cote d`Ivoire," Ban said after
touring the museum, which was set up as a memorial to the six
million victims of the Holocaust in World War II.

There have been increasing clashes between supporters
of Gbagbo and Ouattara in recent days.

UN sources said that yesterday forces loyal to Gbagbo
opened fire on UN experts who had gone to Yamoussoukro airport
to investigate reports that the former Soviet republic of
Belarus had sent attack helicopters to Ivory Coast.

Belarus has denied breaching the UN arms embargo.

But Ban said yesterday in Washington that the United
Nations had "credible information that the government of
Belarus may be providing attack helicopters" to Gbagbo


First Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 - 12:27
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