Ban calls on Iraqi leaders to resolve differences

Friday, December 07, 2012
UN chief Ban Ki-moon briefs the press in Baghdad
[PHOTO: UNifeed] 
Baghdad: Meeting with Iraqi leaders on Thursday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised concerns about political divisions in the country, and also urged the Iraqi government to keep borders open so that refugees can seek safety from the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

At a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Ban referred to an ongoing political stalemate involving the country's Shia, Sunni Muslim and ethnic Kurdish parities, saying the impasse was a "disservice to the people of Iraq, who look to their leaders to deliver a better future."

He also touched on what he called "divergences" over disputed territories in the country's north, where differences linked to oil and land rights between the Iraqi federal government and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government have surfaced.

"There is no alternative to peaceful coexistence within a united federal Iraq," Ban said.

In response to questions at the press conference, Ban later went on to reiterate his "gravest concern" about Syria's chemical weapons and recent reports of plans for their possible use. He said he had written again to President Bashar al-Assad urging him to refrain from the use of any such weapons, and stressed that whoever decided to use such weapons "will have to be brought to justice". -UNifeed
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