Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon late Sunday called for the non-use of force, the respect for basic freedoms, an inclusive dialogue and genuine social and political reform, as “historic developments” in Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and other countries in the Middle East are unfolding.
Ban “remains very concerned about reports of escalating violence and bloodshed. He reiterates his call for the non-use of force and respect for basic freedoms,” his press office said in a statement distributed here by email.
Regarding the situation in Bahrain, the Secretary-General spoke Sunday to King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa to express his concern and urged the government of Bahrain to exercise maximum restraint as well as to calm the volatile situation.
The Secretary-General welcomed King Hamad’ decision to initiate a dialogue. “He feels such a dialogue should be broad-based and meaningful, involving the political opposition, civil society and womens groups,” the statement said.
If requested, the United Nations is prepared to support such a process, it added.
During the past few days, the Secretary-General also discussed the situation in the region with a number of leaders. He talked to the current top leadership in Egypt and agreed to dispatch senior UN officials there for assistance.
He exchanged views in this regard with the Secretary-General of the Arab League and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, as well as with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The statement said Ban also intends to raise the “very disturbing” reports emanating from Libya with the Libyan leadership.
Stressing that “utmost restraint must be exercised by all concerned, he wishes to reaffirm his conviction that this is the time for broad-based dialogue and for genuine social and political reform,” the statement added.
It noted that Ban has also been encouraging the leaders of the region to listen to the voices of their people and respond to their legitimate aspirations. He also advocated respect for freedom of media and uninterrupted communication services.
The Secretary-General will continue to closely follow the unfolding events and speak to other leaders in the region. He reiterates the readiness of the United Nations to provide any assistance requested to address these “historic developments.”