UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed grave concern Tuesday about the jihadist takeover of Iraq's second city of Mosul, calling on political leaders to unite in the face of threats.
His spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ban was "gravely concerned by the serious deteriorating of the security situation in Mosul, where thousands of civilians have been displaced."
The UN chief "strongly condemns the terrorist attacks" across Iraq that have killed and wounded scores of civilians over the past several days and extends his condolences, he added.
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"The secretary general urges all political leaders to show national unity against the threats facing Iraq, which can only be addressed on the basis of the constitution and within the democratic political process," he said.
Jihadists overran Mosul and the surrounding province of Nineveh on Tuesday, in a major blow to a government apparently incapable of stopping militant advances.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki responded by asking parliament to declare a state of emergency and announcing the government would arm citizens to fight the militants.
Ban urged the Iraqi government and autonomous Kurdish authorities in the north to cooperate in restoring security in Nineveh province and in delivering urgently needed humanitarian aid.
He also emphasized that UN member states were obligated to implement and enforce financial sanctions, an arms embargo and a travel ban imposed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).