International community must ‘speak with one voice’ to address Syrian crisis – Ban
“I appreciate that many countries have been working tirelessly, who have been really trying to overcome this crisis through their diplomatic efforts,” Mr. Ban told reporters during a press conference in Indonesia.
“We have no time to waste, no time to lose. Just one minute, one hour, delay will mean the death of more and more people. This is our moral and political responsibility as the international community,” he said.
Mr. Ban emphasized that the main priority at this point is to stop all violence and killings, followed by engaging in an inclusive dialogue to find a political solution that reflects the aspirations of the Syrian people, and granting unhindered access to humanitarian organizations so they can get to people who urgently need assistance.
“The situation in Syria has become now the most troubling and most concerning issue for the international community and for humanity,” Mr. Ban said.
The UN estimates that more than 8,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising – part of the broader Arab Spring movement across North Africa and the Middle East – began in March last year.
Mr. Ban underscored that there are currently two missions in Damascus, the capital, addressing the crisis: a team of experts that is discussing ways to implement the proposals put forward earlier this month by the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States for Syria, Kofi Annan, and a humanitarian team that – along with the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) – is assessing the humanitarian needs in the country.
Mr. Annan, for his part, met with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby in Geneva today and updated him on the status of the mission in Damascus, with both men echoing Mr. Ban’s remarks by underscoring the importance of a unified message from the international community.
Meanwhile, Jean-Marie Guehénno has been appointed as the Deputy Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the Arab League on Syria and will assist Mr. Annan in the exercise of his mandate. Mr. Guehénno previously served as UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and possesses many years of diplomatic and academic experience.
Mr. Annan’s team also includes Deputy Joint Special Envoy Nasser al-Kidwa, a former official with the Palestinian Authority.