Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks to the press on Libya

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Los Angeles (USA), 21 February 2011

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I just wanted to speak with you about this ongoing situation in Libya. Like you and many others around the world, I have seen very disturbing and shocking scenes, where Libyan authorities have been firing at demonstrators from warplanes and helicopters. This is unacceptable. This must stop immediately. This is a serious violation of international humanitarian law. There has been already bloodshed in Libya. This violence against demonstrators must immediately stop. As I said extensively to Colonel [Muammar] Qaddafi this morning over the phone, I urged him that human rights and freedom of assembly and freedom of speech must be fully protected. This is a fundamental principle of democracy. I sincerely hope that the current situation will be resolved peacefully through dialogue -- a broad-based dialogue involving all the parties concerned. I have been closely coordinating with world leaders on this matter. I have spoken to the King of Bahrain the other day, and I have also spoken to the top military leadership of Egypt. I''m going to dispatch senior officials to Egypt soon, and I sincerely hope that this will start reflecting the wishes and aspirations of the Libyan people. I understand that the Deputy Permanent Representative of Libya has called for an urgent meeting of the Security Council, and I understand that the Security Council is going to meet tomorrow morning. I hope again that the Security Council will take this matter on an urgent basis. First of all, the aspirations and concerns of the people should be fully respected and heard by the authorities of the countries concerned.