UN secretary-general disappointed by Assad’s speech
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UN secretary-general disappointed by Assad’s speech

Ban Ki-moon says Syrian president isn’t contributing to ending suffering of his people

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to reporters at the Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, in Mafraq, Jordan, last December (photo credit: AP/Mohammad Hannon)
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to reporters at the Zaatari Syrian refugee camp, in Mafraq, Jordan, last December (photo credit: AP/Mohammad Hannon)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expressing disappointment that Syrian President Bashar Assad has rejected the most important elements in a road map to end his country’s 22-month conflict — a political transition and establishment of a transitional governing body.

Assad in a speech Sunday dismissed any chance of dialogue with the armed opposition and called on Syrians to fight what he called “murderous criminals.” He ignored repeated international demands for him to step down from the presidency, and said he is ready to hold a dialogue with those “who have not betrayed Syria.”

“What the Syrian people desperately need at this time are real solutions to the crisis that is tearing their nation apart,” UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Monday on behalf of the secretary-general, who was disappointed that Assad’s speech “does not contribute to a solution that could end the terrible suffering of the Syrian people.”

Nesirky said Ban and UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will continue to work for a political transition that leads to UN-organized elections.

The UN amended its casualty figures for the Syrian civil war last week, stating that 60,000 people have been killed in Syria’s 22-month conflict. The toll is far higher than the figure of 45,000 proferred by activists opposed to the regime of President Bashar Assad. Analysis of casualty statistics documented the progressive intensification of the Syrian civil war, and showed that an average of 1,000 people were killed per month in the summer of 2011 and that this rose to an average of more than 5,000 per month since July 2012.

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