(NEW YORK) — United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had a pretty stern message from the international community at the start of the General Assembly Tuesday: fix the situation in Syria or suffer the consequences.
With the conflict in Syria 19 months old and tens of thousands of fatalities, Ban called the situation “a regional calamity with global ramifications.” He said it was time for the Security Council to step up and get past their differences on how to resolve the civil war that now threatens world peace.
According to the U.N. chief, “The international community should not look the other way as violence spirals out of control.” Ban said the Security Council must follow the directives of special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who claimed conditions in Syria have become “very grim.”
Previous attempts to pass resolutions to bring both President Bashar al-Assad’s government and opposition forces to the negotiating table have failed, largely because of the insistence of Russia and China that al-Assad should remain in power and foreign interference ought to be kept to a minimum.
Ban blasted al-Assad for perpetuating “brutal” rights abuse and said that war crimes that have occurred in Syria should not go unpunished.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Steve Visser and Masoud Popalzai, CNN
Kareem Khadder, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Angela Dewan and Euan McKirdy, CNN