5 January 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12036

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECURITY COUNCIL SHOULD LIVE UP TO CHARTER RESPONSIBILITIES TO END GAZA CRISIS,


SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS IN MEETING WITH ARAB LEAGUE CHIEF, FOREIGN MINISTERS


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s opening comments at a meeting with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and the Foreign Affairs Ministers of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Libya in New York, today, 5 January:


Welcome to United Nations Headquarters.  It is always a pleasure to see you.  I appreciate your leadership and commitment to bring about peace and stability in the Middle East.  But I am deeply saddened by the reason for our meeting today. 


I am closely following the terrible crisis unfolding before us.  The civilian population of Gaza is being subjected to a massive trauma that is not of their own making.  I am deeply concerned at this situation.


I am also deeply worried about what the further escalation of this conflict could mean for stability in the region.  We must insist that Israel end its military assault, which is clearly excessive.  We must insist that Hamas end immediately its rocket attacks, which are so terribly counter-productive, in addition to being completely unacceptable.  There must be an immediate ceasefire, durable and fully respected by all.


As the Secretary-General, I assure you that the United Nations is doing everything it can to feed and help the men, women and children of Gaza and ease their suffering in the midst of this frightening and dangerous ordeal.  I am trying hard to use the moral authority of my office to bring an end to this trauma.


However, as leaders, I believe we must do more.  Our task is to find fast and real solutions.  It is regrettable that the call by the Security Council has not been heeded by the parties concerned.  I believe that the Security Council should live up to its responsibilities under the United Nations Charter and bring this crisis to an end and establish a durable, permanent peace in the region.


We must work together, urgently and practically, so that the Council can act quickly and decisively.  As Secretary-General, I want to help facilitate a speedy and effective international consensus to end this violence.  I am looking forward to talking with you today on how this can be done together.


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For information media • not an official record