Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met today with his counterpart at the League of Arab States, Nabil El Araby, to discuss the dramatic events unfolding across the Middle East and Arab world.
In their meeting, which took place on the margins of the recently opened 67th General Assembly, Mr. Ban and Mr. El Araby addressed the ongoing crisis in Syria and the implications of the Middle Eastern country’s political impasse, widespread human rights abuses and the growing humanitarian crisis, according to information provided by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.
Both leaders had recently met in August when they announced the appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi as Joint Special Representative for the crisis in Syria. For his part, Mr. Brahimi is expected to brief the Secretary-General on the situation in Syria when he arrives in New York this weekend.
Turning to other issues in the region, Mr. Ban and Mr. El Araby also voiced “serious concern” over the lack of progress on the question of Palestine. Mr. Ban’s spokesperson noted that both leaders acknowledged the “lack of progress in peace negotiations, and the alarming economic situation as well as the absence of hope in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
The two concluded their meeting with a discussion on the widespread rioting and violence related to an anti-Islam film and cartoons. According to media reports, at least 30 people have been killed in the violence as fresh protests broke out on Friday in countries across the Muslim world.
Mr. Ban and Mr. El Araby condemned the film depicting the Prophet Mohammed as “irresponsible and provocative” but also deplored the ensuing violence.