United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on world leaders to take a strengthened leadership role in the Syrian conflict and urged US President Barack Obama to demonstrate and exercise his stronger leadership in working together with key partners of the Security Council.
"I have asked President Obama to demonstrate and exercise his stronger leadership in working together with key partners of the Security Council," he said.
The UN chief made his remarks as he conferred with President Barack Obama in Washington on a host of issues ranging from the conflict in Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to tensions on the Korean peninsula and climate change.
"I am very encouraged that the partnership between the United Nations and the United States is now [building a] very solid foundation and [growing] stronger, and I count on your continuing support on that," Ban told reporters, with Obama standing by his side after the Oval Office meeting.
In Syria, over 70,000 people being killed, more than 50 per cent of schools, hospitals and infrastructure has been destroyed, over 6 million people have been internally displaced, and 1.3 million refugees have poured into neighbouring countries since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011, Ban Ki-moon was quoted by the UN News Center as saying.
He regretted that the Syrian Government had rejected his proposals on arrangements for a UN probe of the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, and again appealed urgently to the Government to allow the advance UN team, currently in Cyprus, to deploy to investigate the alleged use of such weapons in Aleppo in March and Homs last December.