UN leader Ban Ki-moon met with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz on Monday in Jeddah for talks on the crisis in Syria as well as means of combatting terrorism, state news agency SPA said.
Ban discussed with the king “regional and international developments and efforts to achieve peace and end bloodshed in Syria and other hot spots in the region,” SPA reported.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal bin Abdel Aziz on Sunday accused Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad of “maneuvering” to gain time at a joint news conference with Ban, who described the situation in Syria as “deeply troubling.”
“I once again call on the government of Syria to uphold its responsibilities and abide by the Annan plan,” the UN secretary general said at the time, referring to UN-Arab envoy Kofi Annan.
“I urge all members of the international community to use their considerable influence for a peaceful solution.”
Arab leaders on Saturday called on the United Nations to act to stop bloodshed that has persisted for nearly 15 months despite the UN-backed Annan plan that includes the deployment of nearly 300 observers.
Annan on Saturday singled out Assad and his regime as the key to resolving the conflict as he warned of the specter of all-out sectarian warfare.
More than 13,500 people have been killed in an almost 15-month uprising against Assad’s regime, including as many as 2,400 since Annan’s so-called ceasefire took effect on April 12, a rights watchdog says.
The UN chief also discussed with King Abdullah “international efforts to combat terrorism under the umbrella of the United Nations,” said SPA.
“Among the most important challenges we are currently facing is terror, a phenomenon which the whole international community is responsible for fighting and not one country alone,” the king had said at the opening of the second advisory meeting of the United Nations Counter-terrorism Centre Sunday.
The center was established in late 2011 to support the implementation of the UN’s counter-terrorism strategies. Saudi Arabia has pledged $10 million over three years to support it.
Saudi Arabia was the target of a wave of deadly attacks by Al-Qaeda between 2003 and 2006, prompting authorities to launch a crackdown on the local branch of the jihadist network.
Al-Qaeda remains active in Yemen, where its Saudi and Yemeni franchises have joined forces under the banner of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, classified by the US as the most active branch of the global terror network.
Abdullah al-Khalidi, Saudi Arabia’s deputy consul in Yemen’s main southern city of Aden, was abducted by AQAP on March 28 in a bid to secure the release of prisoners and collect a ransom. His fate remains unknown.