UNITED NATIONS, June 15 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sunday condemned the recent upsurge of violence in Iraq at the hands of terrorist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
A statement issued by Ban's spokesperson on Sunday night said that reports of mass summary executions by ISIL are deeply disturbing and underscore the urgency of bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to justice.
"The Secretary-General warns against sectarian rhetoric that could further exacerbate the conflict and carry grave implications for the entire region," the statement said.
Calling on all Iraqi leaders -- political, military, religious and community -- to ensure that their followers avoid acts of reprisal, Ban urged them to "coalesce behind an inclusive national security plan as well as political and social measures aimed at addressing, on the basis of the Constitution, the substantial threat to the country."
"The Secretary-General once again urges the international community to unite in showing solidarity with Iraq as it confronts this serious security challenge," it said. "He calls for full respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law in efforts to counter terrorism and violence in Iraq."
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) stands ready to assist the government and people of Iraq in overcoming the crisis, Ban added in the statement.
The security deterioration in Iraq started last week when bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and hundreds of gunmen who took control of several neighborhoods in western part of Mosul and expanded later to other areas and provinces after the Iraqi security forces withdrew from the city.
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U.S. steps up embassy security in Iraq
WASHINGTON, June 15 (Xinhua) -- The United States said Sunday that it was boosting security for its embassy in Baghdad amid worsening situation in Iraq, as Islamic militants were sweeping across the northern part of the country.
"As a result of ongoing instability and violence in certain areas of Iraq, Embassy Baghdad is reviewing its staffing requirements in consultation with the State Department," department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said in a statement. Full story
Arab League rejects interference in Iraq
CAIRO, June 15 (Xinhua) -- The Arab League (AL) on Sunday strongly slammed the attacks committed by Jihadist-led militants in Iraq, but rejected any attempts of interference in the domestic affairs of the conflict-stricken country.
"AL denounces terrorist attacks that are being perpetrated by the group called 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)' against the Iraqi people," an AL statement said following an extraordinary meeting of permanent representatives in Cairo. Full story
NATO chief to visit Turkey amid worsening situation in Iraq
ANKARA, June 15 (Xinhua) -- NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will visit Turkey on Monday for talks on dozens of Turkish nationals taken as hostages in Iraq, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"We urge the hostage takers to release the hostages immediately. Nothing can justify this criminal act," Rasmussen said at a conference in Madrid earlier on Thursday. "I don't see a role for NATO in Iraq, but of course we will follow the situation closely and urge all parties involved to stop the violence," he added. Full story