UN chief says Syria’s Assad lacks “credibility”

UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad lacks "credibility" and urged the UN Security Council to overcome divisions on the Syria crisis.

"I do not see much credibility [in] what he has been saying," Ban told a small group of reporters in an interview to mark his reelection as secretary general.

"How long should the situation continue in this way. [Assad] really has to take firm measures.”

The UN leader said it would be "very helpful" for the UN Security Council to speak out on the Syria crisis.

Russia and China have threatened to veto a resolution proposed by European powers on the 15-member council condemning the Syria violence. Despite the deadlock, Western nations have said they will pursue with the campaign to get a resolution passed.

Ban said that "very serious concerns" had been expressed by the whole international community.

"Of course first he has to respect the will and aspirations of his own people. But the international community has shown strong expectations," the UN leader said.

Syria's foreign minister on Tuesday rejected foreign interference into the deadly crackdown launched by the Assad government in which more than 1,300 have died, according to rights groups.

Assad is refusing to take telephone calls from Ban who said the pair had argued in their last conversation. But Ban said: "I don't think he has rebuffed me. There is always a possibility that I can talk to him." 

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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