Istanbul, Turkey (BBN)– United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged countries at the second Friends of Syria meeting here to support efforts by the United Nations and the League of Arab States to end the crisis in the Middle Eastern country.
“I appeal to you to unite behind our efforts to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system, in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations, ethnicities or beliefs,” Mr. Ban said on Sunday. “The stronger and clearer the message you can collectively send, the better the chance that we can begin to shift the worrying dynamics of this crisis in the direction of positive change.”
Mr. Ban noted that much diplomatic progress had been made since the first Friends of Syria meeting on 24 February in Tunis, with member states rallying behind the efforts of the Joint Special Envoy of the UN and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, a UN press statement said.
The UN chief also said that the situation on the ground has continued to deteriorate even after Syrian authorities accepted Mr. Annan’s proposal to end the crisis on Tuesday, and stressed the need for the government to implement the plan immediately.
Mr. Annan’s six-point proposal, which was submitted during his visit to Damascus last month, seeks to stop the violence and the killing, give access to humanitarian agencies, release detainees, and kick-start an inclusive political dialogue.
Mr. Ban reiterated that support from regional and international actors continues to be crucial to advance the prospects of a democratic, reconciled Syria. “The fate of Syria belongs to the Syrian people, and it is their welfare and universal rights that we must protect as our highest priority.”
BBN/SSR/AD-02April12-11:05 am (BST)