Tamil Diplomat

Syria conflict: UN’s Ban Ki-moon urges ‘flexibility’ in Vienna talks

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for “flexibility” at talks in Vienna between the countries backing rival sides in the Syrian civil war.He urged the five main participants – the US, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – to abandon “national perspectives” for “global leadership”.

These are the first such talks to include Iran, which – with Russia – backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.The US and its allies insist Mr Assad cannot be part of any solution.The four-year-old war in Syria, which began with an uprising against Mr Assad, has left 250,000 people dead and forced half the country’s population – or 11 million people – from their homes.

Russia and Iran have recently stepped up their military involvement in the conflict, backing forces loyal to Mr Assad.The US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab nations have long insisted Mr Assad cannot play any long-term role in Syria’s future. (BBC2015)