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Ban Ki-moon says U.N. action for Syrian crisis 'a matter of time'

2013/08/23 11:38

SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Yonhap) -- It's only a matter of time before the United Nations steps in to resolve the Syrian crisis, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Friday, calling for international support.

"It's a matter of time when we can, and parties are ready to participate" to resolve the escalating violence in Syria, Ban said in a local forum in Seoul held to discuss South Korea's future agenda for international humanitarian activities.

"All technical and logistics preparations are now complete," the secretary general said of the international body's readiness to address the Syrian crisis, in which its government's violent crackdown on opposition forces, along with its alleged use of chemical weapons, is raising the death toll of its citizens.

"I am specially troubled by reports of the possible use of chemical weapons on civilians," the U.N. chief said. "I condemn with strongest possible tones this escalation of violence."

   Regarding the use of chemical weapons, which is a violation of international law, Ban said, "the crimes against humanity should results in serious consequence."

   Following the reported chemical attacks, he said he immediately dispatched Angela Kane, the U.N. high representative for disarmament, as part of the U.N.'s urgent efforts to hold an investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons.

The U.N. also held a Security Council meeting on Thursday and backed his call for "a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation," the secretary said, adding that "it is clear the situation in Syria is continuing to worsen."

   The secretary general is also working closely with the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about the Syrian crisis in order to solve it through "dialogue and political resolution," he noted.

"I count on generous support of the international community," he said. "I am determined to do everything I can to assist the victims and move toward political solutions."

   Ban's speech at the forum is part of his six-day visit back home that began on Thursay.

During the trip, Ban is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the World Rowing Championships to be held in his home county of Chungju on Saturday and is also set to meet with President Park Geun-hye.