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Ahmadinejad and Ban discuss situation in the Arab world

The recent political developments in the Middle East and North Africa, especially the situation in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, have topped discussions between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

During the telephone call yesterday, Mr. Ban reiterated his concern about the continued instability in Bahrain and Yemen, and underlined his call for maximum restraint and the importance of protecting civilians and the need to respect human rights.

The Secretary-General emphasized that peaceful dialogue on genuine political, economic and social reform is the only way towards sustainable peace and stability, according to a statement released his spokesperson.

Bahrain and Yemen have been jolted by persistent demonstrations by citizens calling for political reform. The protests have often resulted in violence, with dozens of people having lost their lives when security forces in both countries used excessive force against the demonstrators.

On Libya, the Secretary-General reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire and for unrestricted humanitarian access to all areas of the North African country, where citizens opposed to the leadership of Muammar al-Qadhafi have taken up arms in a bid to oust him.

The Secretary-General also explained to Mr. Ahmadinejad the role that his Special Envoy for Libya, Abdel Elah Al-Khatib, is playing, including his close coordination with the international community, particularly the League of Arab States and the African Union.

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