“I sincerely hope that this trend will be corrected.” the Swiss President, Ueli Maurer, told the 68th session of the General Assembly. “No country imposes its law over that of another country. Problems are not solved by diktat, but through negotiation.”The President spoke on the opening day of the General Debate, making the point that humanitarian efforts were part of his country’s history and it was an honour for Switzerland to make its neutral soil available for peace talks.He reminded delegations that it was 150 years ago that the world renowned humanitarian organization, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was created in Geneva, and both Switzerland and the ICRC shared a tradition of neutrality and humanitarian action.Going on to speak about the situation in Syria, Mr. Maurer said that serious and systematic violations of international humanitarian law and human rights must not be tolerated – and he called on the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.In his address, Mr. Maurer appealed to the Security Council’s permanent members to overcome their differences to “find some common ground.” He reiterated the need for no effort to be spared for a consensus to be reached to allow for a political solution and the resumption of talks in Geneva. Separate from bilateral talks between Russia and the United States on a framework for the safeguarding and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, the United Nations-Arab League Joint Representative Lakhdar Brahimi has pressed on with efforts towards the holding of a long-proposed international peace conference on Syria, commonly referred to as “Geneva II”, after the Swiss city in which it would be held.Mr. Maurer also said global problems need global solutions and the UN should be where that happens. But in order to live up to that role, the UN must be “efficient, innovative and effective,” he added.Acknowledging that the UN is active in a vast range of areas, the President went on to say, “There is perhaps a risk that it has taken on too much and lost focus.” According to a readout issued by a spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the UN chief met today with Mr. Maurer. During the meeting, they discussed the situation in Syria. They also exchanged views on disarmament and on prospects for a concrete outcome from the upcoming High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development. Mr. Maurer joins a score of other world leaders and high-level officials taking part in the General Debate, which concludes on 1 October. The delegations will present their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance.
Updated at 22.24SECOND-HALF GOALS from Lionel Messi and Dani Alves booked Barcelona’s place in the Champions League quarter-finals for a seventh consecutive year as they beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday to progress 4-1 on aggregate.City were looking to become the first side to come back from losing the first leg 2-0 at home in the Champions League era and they had chances to reduce the deficit as Victor Valdes denied Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko either side of half-time.However, Messi killed the tie as a contest with 23 minutes remaining as he pounced on a loose ball inside the area to flick home his eighth Champions League goal of the season.The visitors were then reduced to 10 men as Pablo Zabaleta was shown a second yellow card for dissent after Dzeko looked to have a legitimate penalty claim waved away by French referee Stephane Lannoy.City captain Vincent Kompany looked to have salvaged at least a draw on the night when he tapped home a minute from time, but Alves restored Barca’s lead from Andres Iniesta’s cut-back in stoppage time. Source: LaLigaAction/YouTubeBarca midfielder Cesc Fabregas said this result would ease the pressure on the team following a couple of poor ones in the league.“It was a very tight game, we were playing against a world class team. We knew it was going to be a difficult game,” he said. “We had a great result, 2-0 over there, because it’s never easy to go to Manchester and win the way we did.“We created lots of chances, there was a penalty not awarded, a goal from Neymar that was onside. We take a lot of positives, we played much better than the last few games when we were not at our best but this relieves a lot of pressure.”Kompany complained that the sending-off had been unfair and costly to City.“We’ve got nothing left in the tank, we gave everything. A few times we could’ve scored and obviously that would’ve changed the game,” he told Sky Sports.Going for the second time down to 10 men when it was a clear penalty, it’s not easy conditions to come and play against such a good team. Over the course of the two games, whenever we were with 11 players there wasn’t much between the two teams.“Obviously Messi is an incredible player, whenever he has the ball danger can happen, but we had a few chances too.”With a huge mountain to climb, City started on the front foot but they were lucky not to concede a penalty on eight minutes when Messi went down under a challenge from Joleon Lescott.The visitors’ first opening arrived on 16 minutes when James Milner could only direct Aleksandar Kolarov’s driven cross wide of the target.City were then handed another break by the officials as Neymar had a goal controversially ruled out for offside as Jordi Alba was deemed to have been offside when he crossed for the Brazilian to finish. Source: LaLigaAction/YouTubeWith City still needing two goals to even force extra time, the injured Sergio Aguero was replaced by Dzeko at the break.However, the Bosnian nearly made an instant impact as his low drive was smothered by Victor Valdes. Messi came within inches of sealing the tie with another wonderful solo run on 50 minutes as he teased Lescott before passing the ball off the inside of the post.City then had a couple of great chances to get back into the tie as Valdes produced a magnificent save to turn Dzeko’s towering header over the bar before Zabaleta skewed wildly wide when presented with a clear sight of goal at the back post.The opener finally arrived when Fabregas’s intended through ball bounced off Lescott into the path of Messi and he gave Joe Hart no chance with a nonchalant finish off the outside of his left foot.There was still more controversy to come, though, as Dzeko appeared to have been felled by Gerard Pique inside the area. Lannoy was again unmoved and Zabaleta was dismissed for taking his protests too far as a host of City players surrounded the referee.The English side did manage a consolation a minute from time when Kompany tapped home Dzeko’s knockdown from a corner. However, Barca weren’t to be denied victory on the night as with their next attack Iniesta rounded Hart and kept his head to set up Alves to hammer home from close range.Elmo and Fran from Love/Hate are spending this evening with Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer>11-year-old Cork boy picked for lead role in Roy Keane film>