Newscast Media GENEVA—While the Geneva II conference commenced on Wednesday
to resolve the Syrian crisis, CCTV reporter Liu Xin was at Ban Ki-moon’s press
conference in Montreux, where she asked the UN chief about the Syrian opposition’s
demand that President Bashar Assad leave office. Ban said Assad’s status should be
determined by the Syrian people.
“As the Secretary General of the United Nations, I have been stating that the status
or future of President Assad, that is an issue which needs to be determined by the
Syrian people. Therefore, that is something which will have to be discussed between
the two parties…” Secretary General Ban said.
Newscast Media GENEVA—The United Nations set January 22 as the date for holding
the international conference on Syria referred to as “Geneva 2.”
Martin Nesirky, the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that
Ban “expects Syrian representatives to come to Geneva with a serious intent to end
Nesirky quoted Ban as saying that the conference inspires hope, and that the conflict
in Syria has been going on for a long time, therefore it would be unforgivable to waste
this opportunity to put an end to the suffering and destruction the conflict has
According to Nesirky, Ban said that violence in Syria claimed tens of thousands of
lives and displaced millions, in addition to causing turmoil in the region.
He also relayed Ban’s deep gratitude to the Russian and US governments, other
countries and UN Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, for their work to reach this point.
On a relevant note, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed in a statement
from Rome that the conference will be held on January 22nd, regretting that it
couldn’t be held sooner, holding the Syrian opposition responsible for the delay.
Lavrov said the conference was delayed because the opposition made preconditions
and demanded the departure of the Syrian leadership, describing the opposition as
Newscast Media NEW YORK—UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday called on Bahrain to respect the human rights of its people and expressed concern about a jailed activist, who led an uprising in the Persian Gulf state last year and has been on a hunger strike for the past 10 weeks.
Activists are pressing for democratic reforms in a country dominated by the ruling Al Khalifa family. Activists protested during the Formula One Grand Prix last week to try and embarrass the rulers while the global focus was on the kingdom for the race.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, one of 14 men in prison for leading an uprising last year, has said he will fast to his death if he is not freed and plans to reduce his food intake to just water. He is serving a life sentence for expressing support last year for Bahrain becoming a republic and has been fasting for 76 days.
UN Secretary-General Ban’s office said in a statement that he is “concerned” by al-Khawaja’s situation.
“The Secretary-General once again urges the Bahraini authorities to resolve Mr. Al-Khawaja’s case based on due process and humanitarian considerations without any further delay,” the statement said.
Khawaja, who helped found the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, is also well known in the international rights arena. He has worked with Front Line Defenders and Amnesty International, conducting research in Iraq in 2003.
“The Secretary-General remains concerned about the situation in Bahrain, particularly with regard to the continuing clashes between security forces and protesters which have resulted in more casualties,” Ban’s office said. He appealed for all sides to show utmost restraint and to immediately end the violence.
“The Secretary-General also calls on the Bahraini authorities to fully respect the fundamental human rights of the Bahraini people, including due process concerning all detainees,” it said.
Bahrain, an American ally that hosts the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been in turmoil since the protests began early last year. Though martial law and Saudi troops were brought in to crush them after one month, the strife has continued with regular mass marches by opposition parties and violent clashes with police.
Foreign governments, rights groups and media watchdogs have criticized Bahrain for its handling of the protests and the slow pace of reforms. http://www.newscastmedia.com/bahrain.htm
Source: Tehran Times