NEW YORK, Dec 16 (KUNA) -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged
member states to give generously during the Donor Conference on Syria
scheduled in Kuwait in mid-January, stating he would understand if they did
not, and called for a ceasefire prior to Geneva II Conference next month.
"I've been speaking to all the leaders to please give your very generous
helping hand to the (Syrian) people. I know that while most of the countries
in the world are going through very difficult financial and economic
situations, tragedies continue like this, without knowing when there will be
an end," Ban told his end of year press conference in answer to a question.
"So it may be very difficult to expect continuous, generous helping hand,
but I fully understand. Even then, I believe that the international community
and particularly world leaders have political and moral responsibilities to
help those people. We have to be serious in addressing this issue as human
beings," he added.
There are 9.5 million people affected by the conflict in Syria, almost of
half of the population, including 2.3 million Syrians living in neighbouring
countries as refugees. Those living in Lebanon will soon reach one million.
Ban said he decided to convene Kuwait II Donor Conference in Kuwait because
it was successful when it was held in Kuwait on January 30 of this year. "I am
reaching now to member states to come to Kuwait to show their humanitarian
On the political front, Ban also urged warring parties in Syria to secure a
ceasefire prior to the Geneva II Conference to be held on January 22nd to
bring the Government and the opposition to agree to a transitional governing
body with full executive powers.
"That is a very important point, that we must have a cessation of
hostilities before we begin political dialogue on Syria in Geneva. And most
importantly, this fighting must stop," he stressed, recalling that he had
proposed on various occasions to have a ceasefire, even temporarily, but those
appeals have not been adhered to.
"Now, with this Geneva II conference approaching, I am really going to
discuss this matter with the Security Council, and I am urging all the
countries who may have power and influence over the parties to just stop
fighting, so that we will be able to address a political solution. There is no
military option. Only through political dialogue can we resolve this issue. We
will continue to discuss this," he added.
Council President Gerard Araud of France later told reporters "of course,
we consider that a cease-fire or at least a decrease of the hostilities would
be a positive step to go to the Geneva II Conference. But there is no
pre-condition for having this Conference.
On bringing to justice those responsible for using chemical weapons in a
number of sites in Syria, Ban told the press conference he will continue to
discuss the who, what and how to do that with member states.
In a related matter, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters
following a Council closed-door meeting on chemical weapons in Syria that the
UN was pressured by western countries on the issue.
He said all the allegations of the use of chemical weapons and pointing the
finger at Damascus by western countries "resemble manipulation of public
opinion preceding the invasion in Iraq. Luckily, this time we managed to avoid
an international escalation of the Syrian conflict."
Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari also told reporters that the chapter of
chemical weapons in his country is now closed, and the international community
should now open Israel's chemical, biological and nuclear files. "This is what
the focus should be on from now on." (end)
KUNA 162250 Dec 13NNNN