On a whirlwind visit to Switzerland (October 17), UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had strong words for world leaders preparing for the G-20 Summit in Cannes in early November, reminding once again that the world’s 20 richest countries have a global responsibility.  

“Just looking at their own domestic issues will not give any answers to the current very serious international economic crisis,” he said speaking to reporters. “That is the main purpose G-20 was created [for] immediately after the first financial crisis. That is why I said to restore confidence and trust from the people, from the market, the leaders should look beyond their national boarders. They should not haggle over all these domestic regional interests. They have to come out with a broader perspective to save this world.”

Referring to the anti-capitalist protests gathering steam around world he said what they are asking for is actionable plans from the world’s leaders. “What you are seeing all around the world, starting from Wall Street, people are showing their frustrations by trying to send very clear and unambiguous message to the world.”

Asked about the situation in Syria, the Secretary-General said “It is a totally unacceptable situation that more than 3,000 people have been killed. There is some argument by the Syrian government that many more Syrian national security forces members were also killed. Whatever the case may be, both by the civilians, or by the national forces; the killing of people is not acceptable. That must stop.”

Earlier in the day he flew by helicopter over Central Switzerland to observe the country’s decreasing volume of glaciers and held wide ranging talks with Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey in Bern.

The UN chief praised Switzerland for its work on the Green Climate Fund and said he asked President Calmy-Rey to insure that the Swiss government is represented at next year’s Rio + 20 conference on sustainable development. He also thanked the Swiss government for its generous donation of 50 million Swiss francs (US$ 65.5) to renovate the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva.