Ban Ki-moon prioritized Syria on Monday in a series of meetings in New York
Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:35AM
U-N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on Qatar and other supporters of insurgents in Syria to stop sending arms to the armed groups.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was uncommonly direct on Monday in a meeting with the prime minister of Qatar. In a statement -- Ban called on Qatar and other Arab nations to the Syrian insurgents saying additional weaponry would only mean a higher death toll. Qatar has for two years armed a Syrian opposition comprised of extremists such as the terrorist group Al-Nusra. On Friday -- the UN's Special Envoy to Syria -- Lakhdar Brahimi -- said that the fighting -- and the extremism fueling it -- need to end. Ban also met with Brahimi and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby on Monday -- but no mention was made of the Arab League decision to recognize the opposition -- a choice that insiders say alienated and angered Brahimi. Qatar pledged to give a hundred million dollars in aid for Syrian refugees back in January -- but has only come through with about two and a half million worth of cash so far. Ban also used the face-time with Qatar's leader to call for the rest -- saying that the "appalling humanitarian crisis" now has a third of Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance. UN Humanitarian officials have been clear that money buys aid -- and that more is desperately needed. An expert on migration speaking at the UN on Tuesday said that the Syrian crisis is stretching even the UN's unmatched humanitarian capacities to the breaking point. Ban -- Brahimi -- UNHCR officials and others have insisted all along that there can be no alternative to a political solution to end the Syrian conflict -- and that urgent dialog is needed. There was no word from the Secretary-General's office -- however -- on how Qatar responded to Ban's appeals.