Ban with US President Obama
Photo: Reuters

UN chief visits Washington Holocaust museum

Ban Ki-moon tours Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, uses opportunity to condemn leaders of Libya, Ivory Coast for recent bloodshed; says 'once again, we are being tested', 'never again' is for all people, in all places'

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington Tuesday and condemned the leaders of Libya and Ivory Coast for waging war on their own people, as he urged the international community to stand united against them to prevent more bloodshed.


Alluding to the atrocities committed 70 years ago by Adolf Hitler's Nazis, Ban said: "Once again, we are being tested."


Ban was speaking to reporters after touring the museum, which stands as a memorial to the six million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. 


"'Never again' is for all people, in all places," he said, referring to the call made after World War II to never allow a repetition of the Holocaust.


The Libyan regime has met "the winds of change" sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa with violence against its own citizens, and long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi "lost legitimacy when he declared war on his people," Ban told reporters.


Rights groups say at least 1,000 people have been killed in Libya in a brutal crackdown by forces loyal to Gaddafi on pro-democracy demonstrators who took to the streets nearly two weeks ago in the wake of upheavals in neighboring Egypt and Tunisia.


Escalating violence in Ivory Coast

In Ivory Coast, violence is escalating as President Laurent Gbagbo clings to power despite the international community recognizing his rival Alassane Ouattara as the legitimate winner of an election held three months ago.


"The winner of the election in Cote d'Ivoire is Mr Ouattara and Mr Gbagbo should cede power to preserve peace and stability and the future of Cote d'Ivoire," Ban said.


"'History's most tragic chapters are written when we fail to heed that call," the UN chief said as he outlined measures that have already been taken against Gaddafi and Gbagbo, and warned that "further action may well be necessary."


Ban had met earlier with US President Barack Obama, whom he praised for his firm and decisive leadership on the crisis in the Middle East.


During his visit to the Holocaust Museum, Ban paused silently by the eternal flame in the Hall of Remembrance before lighting several candles under the name of the most infamous of the Nazi German death camps built on Polish soil, Auschwitz-Birkenau, where at least a million people died in purpose-built gas chambers.



פרסום ראשון: 03.01.11, 08:28
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