Saturday, 14 January 2012

UN chief on Iran, Assad, Mubarak and Saleh

Raghida Dergham
UN chief Ban Ki-moon says assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists are “terrorist deeds,” adding: “Any assassination of civilians or scientists should be condemned and spurned to uphold human rights.”

Raghida Dergham, U.S.-based senior diplomatic correspondent for pan-Arab daily al-Hayat, today quotes the secretary-general as telling her on the plane from New York to Beirut:
  • “The onus is on Iran to prove its nuclear program is in truth for peaceful purposes. They have to prove and substantiate this.”
  • Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told me at our last meeting in New York he would be coming back “together with Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby to brief the Security Council (presumably about the Syria observer mission).” Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, “will next week begin to train” Arab observers to Syria. My coordination with Elaraby is ongoing. “I cooperate with him closely and continuously. We consult on how best the UN and Arab League can address this matter.”
  • Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “lost his legitimacy and should stop killing his people… And he has to initiate bold reform measures before it is too late,” since “there’s always room for redress so civil war in Syria does not become inevitable.”
  • “The current situation in Syria could have serious repercussions on peace and stability in Lebanon.”
  • “As a matter of principle,” I would not endorse the call (by prosecutors and civil rights lawyers) for a death sentence for Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak. "The United Nations passed a resolution” declaring a global moratorium on capital punishment.
  • Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh “should fully implement the commitment he made to his people alongside the Gulf Cooperation Council.”