Ban Ki-Moon: I am willing to take any measures for human rights
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon discusses intervention in Libya, the situation in Yemen and Syria, and the argument between Bahrain and Iran. He reiterates Israel's human rights violations and the importance of the peace process. He speaks finally of his hopes for the Arab region.
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Ban Ki-Moon: You have seen what has happened in Libya. We had many civilians being indiscriminately killed by government forces and even some mercenaries, according reports. This was a totally unacceptable situation, and the longer we wait, the more people would have been killed. That’s why, upon the strong recommendation of the Arab League, the Security Council has taken a swift action, decisive action. Now, if you look at the history of the United Nations, this swift action was very unprecedented.
Yemen's president must do more
Dergham: You are now saying that, in Yemen, it is not enough for Ali Abdullah Saleh to dismiss his government. You are saying more is needed. Do you want him to leave?
Ban Ki-Moon: The future of any leader or political systems is to be determined by the people of the country. What I am urging him to do as the president of Yemen is to take bold reform.
Dergham: Yes, but he offered some reform, and then the opposition said it is not enough. Then he dismissed his whole cabinet, and you said it is not enough. What do you want him to do? Do you want him to step down? If he does what Muammar Qaddafi did in Libya and kills more people – 50 people were already killed in one day – do you think the Security Council should apply the same measures in Yemen as it did in Libya?
Ban Ki-Moon: This is what the Security Council will have to decide. What I am urging is that he should immediately engage in broad-based dialogue with a sense of patience, with sense of flexibility and compromise. The power of the leader is given to him by the people, so he has a duty to engage and listen more attentively and carefully to the aspirations of the people.
We have seen in the past where leaders have not been open-minded or have not been flexible. That’s why the people came out to the streets and shouted and chanted for more reforms and more freedoms. This, he has to listen to.
Dergham: Are you willing to go to Yemen and try to open a dialogue, to be a conduit for a dialogue, between Ali Abdullah Saleh and the opposition in order to avoid such a bloodshed?