VIDEO: UN Chief, Syrian Foreign Minister Have Tense Exchange

Published on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 11:34 - Written by

Syria's foreign minister had a testy exchange with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the opening morning of peace talks in Switzerland on Wednesday.

Walid al-Moallem had been speaking to delegates for 20 minutes when Ban - keen to keep the high-stakes talks on schedule - interrupted the diplomat and asked him to "wrap up" his speech.

Al-Moallem refused to give up the podium, telling the UN chief: "You live in New York, I live in Syria. I have the right to give the Syrian version, here in this forum, After three years of suffering, this is my right."

Ban told him to refrain from making inflammatory remarks, which he said would "not be constructive at this time".