2012 was a tumultuous year: Secretary-General Ban

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

A tumultuous year is coming to a close, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Wednesday at his year-end press conference.

He said, "Two thousand twelve saw tension from Syria to the Sahel and from Eastern Congo to the Korean Peninsula.”

On Syria, he said it was critical that the Syrian opposition was coming together. But he was also concerned about the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Syrians as a result of the hostilities

“The exodus has reached more than 500,000 people. It will grow in number as fighting rages, and in intensity as winter takes hold.”

On the Sahel region, Secretary-General Ban noted that some 20 million people across nine countries were in crisis, their lives upended by a volatile mix of drought, hunger, poor governance, drug trafficking, terrorism and extremism.

“ The situation in Mali is especially urgent. We must do all we can to help Malians restore their democracy, recover their territory, address the humanitarian crisis and end the shocking human rights violations. Dialogue and negotiations should be pursued seriously even as military options are carefully prepared.”

Secretary-General Ban also noted that the Middle East peace process was in a deep freeze.

And he expressed concern about the global economic situation.

At the same time, he said, the United Nations helped to lay foundations for progress on the top challenge of the 21st century: sustainable development.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’32″

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