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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks about a world in crisis

August 25th, 2014
04:10 PM ET

By Henry Hullah

A tense stand-off in Ukraine, the biggest Ebola outbreak in history, devastation in Gaza - and all the while, ISIS grows in strength in the heart of the Middle East and racial tensions come to a head in the United States.

A fractured world and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is the man tasked with picking up the pieces.

"The world is confronting multiple crises at this time," Ban Ki-moon told Christiane Amanpour.

"The situation in Iraq, we have a very serious crisis in Ukraine but we still have very serious crises in Libya, South Sudan, Central African Republic. On top of this we are now being hit by Ebola epidemics."

Amanpour first asked him about the increasing threat of ISIS: an extremist militant group whose seized territory across Iraq and Syria has been said to be larger than the United Kingdom. Can the U.N. help those affected and to stop the threat before it spreads even further?

"The United Nations cannot do it alone in addressing international terrorism and extremists. The way they have been terrorizing the international community and its people by kidnapping the women, children and particularly journalists, this is totally unacceptable. These are against the international humanitarian law and against the international human rights law and we saw this horrendous killing of Mr. James Foley, that we have condemned in the strongest possible terms."

Amanpour asked if the horrors of ISIS that he had just described were due to an escalation of the Syrian crisis because, as he had told her in a previous interview, there was no "Plan B".

"That is why I have always been urging, the number one priority should be that that the parties stop the violence unconditionally and return to political dialogue."

'There is no point building when they are continually destroying.'

The rising threat of ISIS is far from the only crisis currently haunting the Middle East.

Not far away is the humanitarian nightmare that is the Gaza conflict. Many have died, including a large number of young children, due to heavy shelling by the Israeli military in their battle against the military wing of Hamas.

Amanpour asked the man in the United Nation's top office how he would plan to keep both Hamas and Israel accountable for their actions.

"The catastrophic tragedy which happened in Gaza is again totally unacceptable," Ban said. "We have to address root causes, there are many issues that have already been identified by the parties. What are the problems? I have been urging that all these issues must be resolved through a political negotiation.”

"I'm deeply concerned and disappointed that this even fragile ceasefire has not been kept, it has been broken again."

When it came to rebuilding Gaza, the U.N. secretary general was quite frank:

"We must reconstruct Gaza," Ban Ki-moon told Amanpour.

"But there is no point building when they are continually destroying. So we have built and they have destroyed. Built and destroyed, built and destroyed."

"We are ready to build, but there should be construction on the basis of a ceasefire and Middle Eastern peace."

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Ebola • Gaza • Iraq • Latest Episode
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Mesopotamia

    This guy is useless and he lacks the charisma needed for someone in his position.

    August 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  2. Western Propaganda

    Maybe that guy should ask the Nobel Peace Prize winner about engineering a coup in Ukraine that started a civil war and propping islamist fundies in Syria better known as ISIS.

    August 25, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Reply
  3. angellawin

    To Ms. Christiane Amanpour: These religious violence and killings in the Middle East and in Africa today only revealed to us that these two great religions do not truly represent the real God in the Bible.


    Let us begin with the beliefs of these Islamic Militants – they believe that by committing such killings against non-believers they will be rewarded by their god ‘Allah’ a place in heaven. However, if their teaching is true that they are meant by their beloved god ‘Allah’ in heaven and the non-believers will burn in hell, then why is there the need for them to kill the non-believers here on earth?

    While the Christians believe that the sufferings they are experiencing today such as these persecutions and brutal death is just temporary, because after they die, they will go to heaven.

    However, if what these Christians believe is true when why do they urge the United Nations to use military force to save their fellow Christians from being massacred and slaughtered by the Islamic Militants in the Middle East? Isn’t it right that they should let their fellow Christians die there since after it their souls will go to heaven?

    More than that, these Christians believe that the Jesus presented to them by the apostles is the all-powerful Saviour who can even calm down storms and make demons run away. But again the question is, if what they believe about Jesus is true, then why should they and their leaders especially the Pope ask the UN to intervene to stop the killings in the Middle East? Why not call on Jesus instead?

    Furthermore, the Catholic Pope turned some persons into saints in heaven a few months ago to be worshiped by the Catholics, the question is, where are those saints now when those Christians are being killed in Iraq?

    It is time the people of the world wake up from these teachings of the religions. The present religious killings we are witnessing today are proofs that the god whom these religions preach is not the true God in the Bible, because if they do, then these religious killings should not have happened in the first place because the real God of the Bible did not promise an afterlife in heaven when we die. He created us here to take care of our planet and live a peaceful and abundant life.

    Given the said teaching of the real God about having no "afterlife" , it follows that these fighting and killings between Christians and Muslims is not for the true God but for a false god

    Thus the only way for these religious violence to end is for the UN member nations to organize a great religious dialogue between the leaders of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Teacher Eraño Martin Evangelista of that will be seen by all people of the world so that all may see and hear who among the said leaders represent the true God.

    Once the people of the world see who among them bears God's true message, people will unite to worship the true God and thus the end of this religious violence and those who used and misinterpreted God's word to justify killings and plunder will be punished.

    May i share the following article:

    This message is not promulgated to promote a new religion but simply to enlighten the readers. The readers must use credible thinking and common sense. Whether the reader accepts it or not is his or her own decision. What is important is we have shared with you this revelation.Thank you.

    August 26, 2014 at 3:07 am | Reply
    • RLTJ's

      What a long story you have. Exactly 30 years ago I decided there are too many religions and religious sects in this world that there is no need for me to form another one.

      The only and ultimate authority is God. There is only one God.

      August 26, 2014 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • RLTJ's

      nobody ever saw God. God is a perception.

      It is humans who are screw ups.

      August 26, 2014 at 11:46 am | Reply
    • RLTJ's

      So what do you think is God? You cannot possibly be wrong. He is an omnipotent God.

      August 26, 2014 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • RLTJ's

      And don't ever say "their" god or God. Because you are in effect saying that there are more than one God – their God and your God. Or, you are saying that you have the real God and he has a fake god. He might want to punch you or to kill you for that. You end up fighting.

      August 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Reply
      • RLTJ's

        and when that happens you are just two blind men killing each other for the same thing – for the one and only God [English word] – Allah to Islam, Bathala to Malays, Deus to some.

        August 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm |
  4. David Kimwele

    Clearly the UN is overwhelmed by the variou crises across the globe and I'm afraid the SG (which stands for 'scapegoat' as Kofi Annan once quipped) has zero clout on the world stage. Listening to him all I hear is the moanings of an executive administrator of what has become a backwater organization. If the UN is to play role effectively in the 21st century, then first it must be reformed and empowered to do its job effectively and its leader must be a person with global influence.

    August 26, 2014 at 5:05 am | Reply
  5. ashok

    Given the UN's breathtakingly modest contribution to securing peace in troubled areas, perhaps the world needs a Plan B as well, in terms of creating an organisation or mechanism that actually works, instead of merely wringing its hands in despair.

    August 26, 2014 at 5:48 am | Reply
  6. francis coutinho

    god is love, love your neighbour as your self who follows this, then we blame gods, the money god makes us to forget
    every thing else to an extent one is ready to commit any crime to gain money god.

    August 26, 2014 at 8:51 am | Reply
  7. RLTJ's

    I see a person who can only throw up his arms and shake his head.

    August 26, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  8. RLTJ's

    I have sworn to myself never to read any article about Gaza and Israel.

    Except for the headlines that I don't really know if they are new or old story. They all appear to be old story, actually.

    August 26, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Reply
  9. nomis101

    Dearest Amanpour, pls. Take an early retirement or move to Aljazeera, you're too old.

    August 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  10. Latka

    Tenk you berry much 🙂

    August 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  11. DSingh

    Reblogged this on Quest of Rationality and commented:
    How many of these problems can Science and Rationality solve?

    August 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm | Reply
  12. TH

    Dear United States of America, Dear Citizens, Dear Representatives of the Citizens,

    superpowers like the US behave just like fundamentalists because they singlemindedly believe in solutions through brute force, military power and their traditional scare-tactics. European citizen refer to this as "playing world police".

    Ban Ki-Moon is obviously calling for a change in mentality on behalf of the superpowers (both US & Russia) within the UN Security Council.
    He is doing so in the most diplomatic way that the simplistic US tradition of political will (Good vs Evil), the narrow corporatist media framing of CNN, and Ms Amanpour‘s unidirectional questions allow him to.

    It‘s always painful to see how much commentors are caught up in the ignorant "good vs evil" dualism.

    In the US "political will" is commonly understood as "decisiveness to use military force". American citizen should make more efforts to learn that this understanding is a specific product of the US‘s military industrial culture. As such, it is very different from what the rest of the world, the UN representatives, and also the rest of the western world mean when they call for "political will".

    Again, when Ban Ki-Moon is calling for US‘s political will, he is not calling for US military intervention (so-called "repercussions", "revenge", "retribution", or an "eye-for-an-eye" kind of justice, or "after-the-fact" punishment – as other commentors seem understand it).
    He is calling for the US‘s political will to participate in diplomatic processes with the international community through the UN, and especially within the UN, and within the UN Security Council.

    It seems to me that the average CNN-commentor, as well as Ms Amanpour, still tend to see the UN as an organisation that is entirely separate from the US, it‘s power, and it‘s intentions.

    Unfortunately the US government regularly behaves in ways that support this view, or stengthen such an impression. Therefore, because it is such a military-brute-force-superpower, it is only the US can prove that the world community is capable of uniting in solidarity in order to take a different path.

    With great expectations towards a better future,

    A Friend

    PS: You can keep my email-adress for you NSA file, and put me on the "terrorist"-list. Enjoy your day!

    August 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Reply
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