Ban Ki-moon chides big powers for absenteeism

By David Bosco

With the end of his term approaching, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon isn’t mincing words. He expressed frustration earlier this week that so few of the G7 countries sent their leaders to the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. Via the Christian Science Monitor:

In closing the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit he had called to address the 125 million people currently in need of some form of assistance, Mr. Ban said Tuesday night, “It’s a bit disappointing that some leaders could not be here, especially those of the G7” group of industrialized countries. ”They are the richest countries in the world, and they show leadership by example.”

That’s about as severe a lashing as the world’s top diplomat ever gives the most powerful members of the organization he runs. Yet the mild-mannered Ban didn’t stop there, but went on to single out the leaders of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: “The absence of those leaders from this meeting do not provide an excuse for inaction.”

Germany’s Angela Merkel was the only G7 leader to attend the gathering. Countries represented by their heads of state included Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Croatia, Madagascar, Niger, Palestine, and Ukraine.

About David Bosco

Assistant Professor at American University's School of International Service. Contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine. Author of Rough Justice: The International Criminal Court in a World of Power Politics and Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World
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