Ban pushes for political solution in Syria at G20 summit

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon reiterated to leaders attending the Group of 20 summit on Sunday that they must push harder for a political solution to end the bloodshed in Syria.

Ban addressed world leaders at a working dinner in St. Petersburg, Russia, and said they have a collective responsibility to mankind to act. He also reminded them that any decision should be taken within the framework of the U.N. Charter.

Ban said there was close to a $4.4 billion gap for humanitarian and refugee efforts in Syria and neighboring countries.

U.N.-Arab League Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi joined Ban in Russia for the early convening of an international meeting on Syria to be held in Geneva with the participation of senior U.N., U.S. and Russian officials.

The biomedical and environmental samples collected by the U.N. chemical weapons investigation team reached four laboratories in Europe over the weekend for analyses. The samples include sites where chemical weapons were allegedly used in an attack on August 21.

Ban said scientists are working around the clock to produce a rapid and accurate result. He said he would report the results promptly to the Security Council and all 193 U.N. Member States.

More than 100,000 people died from the conflict in Syria with 4.25 million people displaced within the country. At least another two million are now refugees in nearby countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.