To Mr Ban Ki-moon, United Nations secretary-general

Geneva, 25 June 2012

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you in my capacity as general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), where we have, among our 349 member churches worldwide, an important number of historic churches in the Middle East region. They have been witnessing to God's love to humankind since the beginning of Christianity, and their continuous presence is crucial for Christians all over the world.

Today, we are deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating situation in Syria, and the unbearable level of violence it has reached very recently. The loss of thousands of civilian lives can no longer be met with verbal statements and with divided positions from the international community. We strongly believe that the United Nations has a primary role to play in keeping with its foundational mandate of peace making and peace building.

In this sense, we urge you to strengthen the Kofi Annan initiative by maintaining it while giving it a stronger and a clearer mandate, equipping it with a political plan and a firm and clear process led by the Security Council, which will be agreed upon by the international community for the transitional period.

It is only through an inclusive multi-lateral negotiated peace process that the worst can be avoided in Syria. We are confident that Your Excellency will be able to call the world leaders to save the people of Syria from more violence, killings and destruction and bring together the concerned parties to a common table, so that the Syrian people will be able to live in peace and dignity, and express its political will in complete freedom.

Wishing you all the success in your mission, we assure you that we are keeping you in our prayers, and we remain,

Sincerely yours,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary