Ban opens UN General Assembly with call to end Syria fighting

United Nations, Sep 20 (AFP) UN Secretary-General BanKi-moon opened the annual General Assembly debate today with acall to end the fighting in Syria as he condemned the"sickening, savage" attack on an aid convoy. "I appeal to all those with influence to end the fightingand get talks started," Ban said in his farewell address. The former South Korean foreign minister is stepping downon December 31 after 10 years in what has been widelydescribed as the world’s most impossible job. Now in its sixth year with over 300,000 dead, the war inSyria is dominating this year’s gathering of world leaders. Ban denounced the "sickening, savage and apparentlydeliberate attack" on an aid convoy and confirmed that theUnited Nations had suspended deliveries of humanitarianassistance. "Just when you think it cannot get any worse, the bar ofdepravity sinks lower," he added. The UN chief hailed the aid workers on the convoy toAleppo province as "heroes" and said "those who bombed themwere cowards" before calling for accountability for crimescommitted in the war. Ban blamed all sides for killing innocent people, but"none more so than the government of Syria, which continues tobarrel bomb neighborhoods and systematically torture thousandsof detainees." He took a swipe at "powerful patrons" who are fueling theconflict and attending the General Assembly debate this weekin New York. "Present in this hall today are representatives ofgovernments that have ignored, facilitated, funded,participated in or even planned and carried out atrocitiesinflicted by all sides of he Syria conflict against Syriancivilians", he said. (AFP)SAI

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