UN chief urges Syria talks to put civilians first

'I urge all parties to put the people of Syria at the heart of their discussions, and above partisan interests,' Ban Ki-moon says

UN chief urges Syria talks to put civilians first

World Bulletin / News Desk

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged Syria's warring parties gathered in Geneva for "overdue" UN-brokered peace talks to put their country's  civilians above "partisan interests".

Ban, in an address to a defence college in Oman, also called on Gulf regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, which support opposite sides in the war, to step up efforts to reach a compromise.

"We are all extremely glad these talks have started. They are long overdue," said the UN chief.

"I urge all parties to put the people of Syria at the heart of their discussions, and above partisan interests. Civilians, including children and women, are bearing the brunt of this conflict," he said.

"We must urgently see an end to the fighting, the sieges and the other terrible human rights abuses that have characterised this war."

In a shaky start to the talks, the UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, was to hold separate talks Monday with representatives of the opposition and of President Bashar al-Assad's government.

He aims to coax the warring sides into six months of indirect "proximity talks" under an ambitious roadmap agreed by the many outside powers embroiled in the war that has killed more than 260,000 people.

Ban urged Iran, which supports Assad's regime, and Saudi Arabia, a strong backer of the opposition, to "bring realism, responsibility and compromise to their dealings, and to the region". 

Saudi Arabia severed all ties with Iran last month after its missions in Tehran and Mashhad were attacked by crowds angered by Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

Ban hoped that a landmark nuclear deal that led to the lifting of international sanctions on Iran would lead Tehran to an "increasingly responsible behaviour in the region".

Last Mod: 01 Şubat 2016, 16:12
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