AFP
Last updated: 27 January, 2012

UN chief urges Security Council unity on Syria

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon urged the UN Security Council on Friday to speak with one voice on Syria, and called on Damascus to listen to the aspirations of its people.

“I hope that the Security Council will be able to act,” said Ban, referring to a meeting later Friday at the United Nations on the crisis in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s regime is cracking down on a popular uprising.

The 15-nation Security Council has been unable to agree on a resolution on Syria’s repression of the anti-government protests that erupted last March.

Russia and China used their veto powers as permanent members of the council to block a European resolution in October.

Russia has since proposed its own resolution, but Western countries have said it is unbalanced.

Friday’s meeting will examine a new resolution condemning the crackdown.

The UN secretary general, who was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, urged the council to act.

“We have to seize this moment, we have to help these people. They have been oppressed for so long.

“Now they have come out, women and young people, they are yearning for these aspirations. That’s why I have been urging leaders to listen very sincerely and carefully to their aspirations,” he added.

“I’m going to continue to do that. I’m encouraging that when it comes to the Syrian situation.”

The Arab League has called on Assad to hand over powers to a deputy so that elections can be held in Syria, where the United Nations says more than 5,400 people have been killed since the protests erupted.