June 22 (Bloomberg) -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the world’s major powers together to press Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to end attacks on anti- government demonstrators and meet their legitimate demands.
A statement or resolution by the UN Security Council would be “very helpful,” Ban said at a news conference in New York the day after he was appointed to a second five-year term as UN chief.
“He has to respect the will and aspirations of his own people,” Ban said of Assad. “He has to really take firm measures” to address the demands of the protesters, he said.
The Security Council has been unable to adopt a position since the demonstrations began in mid-March. China and Russia have led opposition. Brazil, India and South Africa also have opposed a U.S.-backed draft resolution condemning Assad’s handling of the protests.
Protests against Assad’s 11-year rule, which followed his father’s three decades, began as part of a wave of unrest across the Middle East and North Africa this year that has unseated the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment for injuries sustained during an attack that followed months of anti- government rallies.
Assad, in his third speech to the nation since the demonstrations began, said yesterday that that the protests have been marked by “vandalism, murder and the destruction of private property” and that the protesters are being paid. He called for a national dialogue that may lead to constitutional amendments.
“I do not see much credibility of what he has been saying because the situation has been continuing,” Ban said. “There are very serious concerns expressed by the whole international community. This kind of message should be heard and respected.”
--Editors: Steven Komarow, Terry Atlas
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