UN chief continues to press for a political solution to the Syrian crisis

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gives a Lecture at Saint Petersburg State University. [UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe]

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that he continues to press for a political resolution of the Syrian crisis.

Mr. Ban spoke at Saint Petersburg State University in Russia on Wednesday before attending a meeting of the group of major economies known as the G20 starting in Saint Petersburg on Thursday.

He told students that around the world human rights are at risk, democracies are threatened, and legitimate voices and movements are being stifled.

In Syria, he added, "a catastrophic civil war has killed more than 100,000 people, ignited sectarian tensions, caused millions of people to flee their homes and generated instability across the region."

"The latest fighting has also raised the spectre of chemical warfare – which, if confirmed by the UN investigation team, would be an atrocious violation of international law. I continue to press for a political resolution. Arms flows and militarization only sustain the bloodshed. It is time for the parties to stop fighting and start talking."

Secretary-General Ban said although the G20 leaders are focused on how to tackle the global economic recovery, he believes they would also discuss the crisis in Syria, in particular the alleged use of chemical weapons.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’24″

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