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UN: Ending conflict a matter of 'political will'

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the Israeli and Hamas leaders to "show their humanity" and added that ending the Middle East conflict was "a matter of political will".

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Credit: Tomas Oneborg / SvD / TT/TT News Agency

It's a matter of their political will. They have to show their humanity as leaders, both Israeli and Palestinian.

Why these leaders are making their people to be killed by others? It's not responsible, (it's) morally wrong.

– Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General

Read: Thousands join 'Free Palestine' demo

Election announcement undermines political efforts

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon earlier this year Credit: PA Images

The U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has warned that Syria's announcement of plans for a presidential election will undermine attempts to find a political solution to the country's three-year-old civil war.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ban Ki-Moon and Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi have "warned that the holding of elections in the current circumstances amid the ongoing conflict and massive displacement will damage the political process and hamper the prospects for a political solution."

He added: "Such elections are incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Geneva communique," referring to an agreement made in June 2012 on seeking a political transition in Syria.

Read: Syria announces date for presidential election

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UN chief voices alarm over Ukraine in Putin phone call

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his alarm over the escalating Ukraine crisis in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A Russian flag flutters on a barricade in front of Kramatorsk airbase in eastern Ukraine.
A Russian flag flutters on a barricade in front of Kramatorsk airbase in eastern Ukraine. Credit: REUTERS/Marko Djurica

"The Secretary-General ... underlined that any deepening of the crisis would be profoundly detrimental for all concerned; hence the need for everyone to work to de-escalate the situation," a statement from Ban's office read.

Ban Ki-moon 'deeply concerned' by Crimea situation

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he was "deeply concerned" by the situation involving Ukraine and Russia at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ban is on a visit to both nations to encourage all parties involved in the crisis over Ukraine and its Crimea region, which Western nations say Russia has illegally annexed, to find a peaceful solution.

UN chief: Aim of talks is to establish a transitional govt

Asked about the apparent gap in objectives between the two Syrian delegations, UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon said that the purpose of the talks is to "discuss how to implement the Geneva Communique" that was agreed in 2012.

This includes "establishing a transitional government," he said, adding that "everybody has come with the clear understanding that this is the basis" of the talks.

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UN chief holds one-on-one meeting with Syrian minister

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon is holding bilateral talks with Syria's foreign minister Walid al-Moualem on the sidelines of major talks aimed at ending the conflict.

UN chief: 'Fragile but real hope' at Syria peace talks

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon opened the Syria peace talks in Switzerland describing the occasion as a "day of fragile but real hope".

This is the first time delegates from both the Syrian government and opposition have been part of the same negotiations, but their openings speeches underlined the wide gap between their positions.

Read: 'Only Syrians can withdraw legitimacy of Assad'

Read: Syria opposition leader: Assad cannot stay in power

UN chief 'dismayed' by fallout from Iran's comments

The UN Secretary General is "urgently considering his options" following the "disappointing conduct of some participants" in forthcoming peace talks on Syria, the Associated Press reports.

Read: Syrian opposition to quit peace talks over Iran invite

The report cites Ban Ki-Moon's spokesman as saying that he is "dismayed" after some participants threatened to pull out of the talks in protest at Iran's invitation.

The spokesman is cited as saying that the "disappointing public statement" made by an Iranian minister earlier today "fell short by some measure of what the Secretary General expected to hear".

US: Iran invitation to Syria talks should be withdrawn

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