New York: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday warned kings, prime ministers and presidents of growing political polarisation and social inequalities and implored UN members to show greater tolerance and mutual respect to bring the world together.
In his keynote speech to the opening of the General Assembly`s annual ministerial meeting, the UN chief told leaders from the 192-member nations that "today, we are being tested”.
Ban said people everywhere are living in fear of losing their jobs, too many are caught in conflict, "and we see a new politics at work -- a politics of polarisation”.
"We hear the language of hate, false divisions between `them` and `us,` those who insist on `their way` or `no way,`" he said.
In times of such polarisation and uncertainty, Ban said, "let us remember, the world still looks to the United Nations for moral and political leadership”.
The meeting follows a three-day summit to promote the achievement of UN anti-poverty goals by 2015 that wrapped up late Wednesday night. Many leaders who attended that summit remained in New York for the ministerial session, and will shift gears to other world issues from the continuing impact of the global financial crisis to terrorism and nuclear proliferation.