Citing Syria, Ban tells forum that governments around the world must heed demands of their people

Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addresses the world
democracy forum, Photo: Council of Europe/ J. Denier 
Washington: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday said that "the escalation of the conflict along Syrian-Turkish border and the impact of the crisis on Lebanon are extremely dangerous,"

Addressing the Council of Europe's Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg and referring to the shelling incidents that took place between the two countries last week, he said that, "this is a regional calamity with global ramifications."

Ban also expressed his concern over the continued flow of arms to both the Syrian government and opposition forces, Ban urged again those countries providing arms, "to stop doing so".

According to the website of the event's organisers, the Council of Europe, the Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy brings together reformers and global leaders to identify democratic responses to the economic, social and political challenges which affect societies today.

Also addressing the forum the Council of Europe's Secretary-General said that, "religion is fate, politics is compromise. They have to find a way of enriching each other not harming each other".

Thorbjørn Jagland said that when it came to politics, "I would say that in today's world, compromise and moderation is one of the most important values and I believe that the major world religions have a great potential to help build an environment in which compromise and moderation can be a reality".

 Nobel Prize Laureate, Tawakkol Karman of Yemen said that, "we must help the Syrians face this daily suffering. The wounds of the Syrian people are still very deep and our conscience suffers from that".  Karman was a leader of the Yemeni uprising that was part of the "Arab Spring."

Also on Monday, the UN chief met with Jagland, and the Council's President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Jean-Claude Mignon. The three men exchanged views on ways to strengthen cooperation on democracy-related activities between the world body and the Council of Europe, and the latest developments in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, they discussed access to asylum and the situation of Roma and minorities in Europe, as well as developments in the Western Balkans, according to UN officials.
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