01/08/2013, 00.00
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Ban Ki-moon criticizes Assad for the terrible suffering of the Syrian people

The words of the Syrian president do not help to find a "real solution to the crisis." Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN peace envoy, in dialogue with Qatar and Iran.

New York City (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon has criticized the speech of Bashar al-Assad, judging it unuseful to ending "the terrible sufferings" of the Syrian people.

Two days ago, Assad gave a speech in which he laid down conditions for a dialogue with the opposition, but ruled out all opponents whom he accuses of being "terrorists" backed by foreign forces. Assad's words were strongly criticized by the United States, European Union and Britain.

For Ban Ki-moon, the Syrian president's words "do not contribute to a solution." For some time the UN has been seeking a political transition, involving the formation of a transitional government followed by free elections.

"At this time, the Syrian people are in desperate need of a real solution to the crisis that is dividing the nation," conveyed Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky.

Ban has ruled out a military solution, reaffirming the importance for the international community to build a "new and democratic Syria."

Since last February, the UN has been committed to a peace plan, first with Kofi Annan, then with Lakhdar Brahimi, involving all the regional powers, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran. But so far both have been unable to ensure a cease-fire. Ban also criticized the UN Security Council divided between the United States, France and Britain, as opposed to Assad and Russia and China in favor of him.

Tomorrow, Brahimi will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, the main supporter of Assad. Yesterday, in Cairo he met with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar. Qatar is among the countries that support the armed opposition to the Syrian regime.

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The United Nations appoints a successor to Kofi Annan in Syria
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