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UN chief calls on all parties to end fighting in Syria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addresses the 71st session of United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on September 20, 2016. (Photos by AFP)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on all parties in Syria to lay down their arms and engage in peace talks.

"I appeal to all those with influence to end the fighting and get talks started," said Ban in his farewell address to the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

The former South Korean foreign minister will step down on December 31 after 10 years of service as the UN secretary general.

“Present in this hall today are representatives of governments that have ignored, facilitated, funded, participated in or even planned and carried out atrocities inflicted by all sides of the Syria conflict against Syrian civilians,” he said.

He also censured the Syrian government over alleged attacks which have claimed the lives of civilians.   

He wrapped up his speech by stressing that "After ten years in office, I am more convinced than ever that we have the power to end war, poverty and persecution."

US President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 20, 2016 in New York.

Also giving his final address to the assembly, US President Barack Obama said that there was no military solution to the five-year conflict in Syria, which has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Obama will stand down as US president in February after holding the position for eight years.  

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York on September 20, 2016.

Another speaker of the day was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who called for an immediate political solution in Syria while defending Turkey’s incursion into the country. "Turkey's incursion into northern Syria in early September has led to establishing peace, balance and stability in a region taken over by hopelessness."

Damascus has denounced Turkey's military intervention as a breach of its sovereignty.

Erdogan also reiterated demands for international action against US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of masterminding a failed military coup in the country. "I would like to call on all our friends to take the necessary measures against the Fethullah Terrorist Organization in their own countries for the future of their own people and their well-being."

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