UN strongly condemns Benghazi attack on US envoy
New York: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the 15-nation Security Council issued strong condemnations of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, asserting that there is no justification for such "brutal" violence and underlined the need to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Ban said he is "deeply saddened" by the attack against the US Consulate that resulted in the deaths of four American diplomats, including Ambassador John Christopher Stevens, as well as Libyan employees of the consulate.
"The Secretary-General condemns this attack in the strongest terms," a statement issued by Ban's spokesperson said today.
The UN "rejects defamation of religion in all forms. At the same time, nothing justifies the brutal violence which occurred in Benghazi yesterday," Ban said.
The UN Security Council, which earlier in the day heard a pre-scheduled briefing on the situation in Libya from Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, issued a press statement condemning in the strongest term the "heinous" attacks in Benghazi and the US Embassy in Cairo on September 11.
"The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators of these acts to justice (and) reaffirmed that such acts are unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed," the statement said.
Later briefing reporters here, Security Council President, Germany's Ambassador to the UN Peter Wittig said the Council did not discuss the "exact circumstances" that led to the attacks in Benghazi and Cairo.
When asked if the attacks were perpetrated by al Qaeda
terrorists to mark the 9/11 anniversary or were in response to an American film on Islam, Wittig said since "the information (on the attacks) is still fresh and there is no assured information yet about the exact circumstances of the attacks", the Council did not discuss who was responsible for the violence.
A trailer of the film made by California-based filmmaker Sam Bacile was put on Youtube and sparked assaults by armed mobs against US missions in Cairo and Benghazi.
The consulate in Benghazi was set on fire yesterday reportedly killing one American consular official.
Ban and the Council expressed their deep sympathy and extended condolences to the Libyan and American families of the victims.
The Council stressed that it is the obligation of host governments "to take all appropriate steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises against any intrusion or damage, and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of these missions or impairment of their dignity, and to prevent any attack on diplomatic agents and consular officers".
The Secretary-General and the Council called on all authorities to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel and to respect their international obligations in this regard.
Ban welcomed statements by the Libyan authorities that they will bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice.
"The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to continue working with the government and the people of Libya as they strive to bring stability to their country".
Wittig said the Council members agreed that Libya continues to face "serious political and security challenges" as have been "dramatically demonstrated by the horrible events in Benghazi".
The members underlined the need for comprehensive security sector reforms including improved border security to address serious issue of arms proliferation, he added.