United Nations: UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday voiced deep concern over increased militaristaion of the Syrian conflict and expressed disappointment at the continued stalemate between Israel and Palestine, which, he said, are more polarised than ever before.
Terming 2012 as a "tumultuous" year, Ban said turmoil and tension in Syria, Sahel, Congo and the Middle East has "tested' the world leadership and progress made in some areas is "lost to conflict" and remains fragile due to lack of commitment.
"Syria began the year in conflict, and ends the year in war. Day by day, the death toll has climbed. Month by month, the regional spillover has grown," Ban told reporters in United Nations on Wednesday at his year-end press conference.
He said while the Syrian opposition is coming together, he is deeply concerned about the increased militarization of the conflict and the potential for sectarian atrocities. He voiced concern at the growing number of Syrian refugees.
In the nearly two-year long Syrian conflict, more than 500,000 citizens have been displaced and Ban said this number would grow as the fighting rages.
"Neighbouring countries face a huge financial burden in sheltering and caring for them. The increasing peril faced by Palestinian refugees in Syria is another growing concern," he said urging the international community to respond urgently to the humanitarian appeal of $ 1.5 billion made in Geneva to assist Syrian civilians affected by the conflict.
Ban said he is also considering convening an international donor conference early next year.
"Syria needs a peaceful, political solution that brings democratic change, while preserving the fabric of Syrian society and the peaceful coexistence of its communities."
Referring to North Korea's "provocative" rocket launch earlier this month, the UN Chief said the launch has raised regional concerns and defied the international community.
"I look forward to the outcome of Security Council consultations on an appropriate response," he said. Ban also voiced disappointment at the "deep freeze" in the Middle East peace process.
With Israel and Palestine appearing "more polarized than ever", Ban said a two-state solution is farther away now than it was since the Oslo process began in 1993. Ban said the peace process has to be brought back on track before it is too late.
"I am deeply concerned by heightened settlement activity in the West Bank, in particular around Jerusalem. This gravely threatens efforts to establish a viable Palestinian state. I call on Israel to refrain from continuing on this dangerous path, which will undermine the prospects for a resumption of dialogue and a peaceful future for Palestinians and Israelis alike," he said.
Responding to the "cruel, senseless and inexcusable" killings of health workers in Pakistan, Ban said he condemns the killings of the women who were working "selflessly" to achieve the goal of polio eradication.
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