UN chief urges 'reconciliation' in the Middle East
Doha: Reconciliation is crucial in countries
emerging from political turmoil, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said
at the opening of a UN Alliance of Civilisations forum.
The fourth annual forum, hosted this year by Qatar,
includes delegates from several states touched by the Arab
"In some countries (political) transitions have been
peaceful. Others have seen bloody crackdowns," Ban said at the
opening of the conference on Sunday.
"But in all, reconciliation is essential for transformations to succeed," he added.
The popular uprisings that have swept across the Arab
world over the last 12 months have brought down governments in
Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, while Yemen's veteran leader Ali
Abdullah Saleh, also targeted by protests, has agreed to stand
down in February.
But violence persists in Syria, where the UN says at least
4,000 people have been killed in the government's brutal
crackdown on opposition demonstrators since the protest
movement began in March.
The civilisations forum is being attended by more than
2,500 delegates, including political and business leaders, as
well religious and youth activists.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been
expected to attend, but was unable to travel after undergoing
laparoscopic gastrointestinal surgery last month.
But in a taped speech Erdogan told the forum "as long as
state terrorism continues in the Middle East... we will not
see peace prevail across the world."
Ban later on Sunday participated in the inauguration of a
Regional Centre on Transparency, Integrity and Combatting
Corruption based in Doha.