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New UN chief pledges attention to Darfur January 3, 2007

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Death, Genocide, Kofi Annan, UN, United Nations.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon started his first day on the job on Tuesday by promising immediate attention to the crisis in Darfur but backing off traditional UN opposition to capital punishment.

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister succeeding Kofi Annan of Ghana, was greeted by a UN honor guard and then went to a UN meditation chapel to honor fallen peacekeepers.

Asked about the weekend execution of Saddam Hussein, Ban, 62, told reporters the former Iraqi leader was responsible “for committing heinous crimes and unspeakable atrocities against the Iraqi people and we should never forget the victims of these crimes.”

But he said, “The issue of capital punishment is for each and every member state to decide” in conformity with international law. South Korea has the death penalty although it is considering abolishing it.

However, his special representative in Iraq, Ashraf Qazi, released a statement saying that the world body “remains opposed to capital punishment, even in the case of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

Ban said the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region was “very high on my agenda” and he would meet with his special envoy Jan Eliasson of Sweden on Wednesday morning and had already spoken by telephone with him.

He also announced he would attend an African Union summit at the end of January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and talk to Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir there.

“By engaging myself in the diplomatic process I hope that we will be able to resolve peacefully as soon as possible on these serious issues,” Ban said.

The United Nations is seeking to get a peacekeeping force in Sudan’s western arid Darfur region, where violence has escalated, rapes have multiplied and more than 2.5 million people have lost their homes. Bashir has put conditions on a UN peacekeeping force to bolster the under-financed 7,000 African Union troops, now in Darfur.

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: Zee News

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