News in Brief 14 December (PM)

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (front left) addresses a high-level meeting of the Security Council on the situation in Syria. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

Continuing nightmare in Syria "deepest regret" of outgoing UN chief

The outgoing UN Secretary-General has said the "continuing nightmare" in Syria is his "deepest regret" about leaving office.

Ban Ki-moon was addressing the Security Council which met to pay tribute to his ten years of service as the UN chief.

Mr Ban said the Council was strongest when united, but he added when unity is lacking the consequences can be "catastrophic" as in the case of the world's youngest nation that's been going through brutal civil conflict, South Sudan.

In his address, he singled out the international community's response to Syria, over which the 15-member body has been regularly divided.

"My deepest regret on leaving office is the continuing nightmare in Syria. I once again plead with all of you to cooperate and fulfil your collective responsibility to protect Syrian civilians."

Immediate halt to bombardment of eastern Aleppo urged

Meanwhile, the immediate halt to the bombardment of eastern Aleppo city in Syria has been urged by the UN human rights chief.

Government forces have been battling rebels for more than four years for control of the city.

Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, said he was "appalled" that the deal enabling the evacuation of many thousands of civilians, from the remaining opposition-held area of eastern Aleppo, appeared to have collapsed on Wednesday morning.

He added that the Syrian government has a "clear responsibility to ensure its people are safe" but that it was "palpably failing" in that duty.

Global decolonization anniversary marked at UN

The 56th anniversary of the Declaration on Decolonization, which supported the granting of independence to territories which had been colonized, has been marked at the United Nations.

When the UN was established in 1945, 750 million people, almost a third of the world’s population, lived in territories that were non-self-governing and dependent on colonial powers.

Eighty former colonies have gained independence since 1945.

There are 17 Non-Self-Governing Territories remaining today where fewer than 2 million people live.

Priyanka Shankar, United Nations.



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