WASHINGTON - The 14 months of bloodshed in Syria that has continued despite an April 12 ceasefire and claimed more than 9,000 lives is a "totally unacceptable and intolerable situation" that must stop so political dialogue can begin, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.



The priority for the United Nations is to deploy a complete supervision mission of 300 unarmed UN monitors as soon as possible, Ban said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.



His comments came on a day in which the Syrian government said voters turned out in large numbers for a parliamentary election, that opposition supporters denounced as a sham.



The situation in Syria is the "most serious and gravest" concern for the international community, Ban said.



The UN chief called for a cessation of violence by all parties, government military forces and opposition forces, "then political dialogue must begin in an inclusive way for a political resolution reflecting the genuine aspiration of the Syrian people, that's our priority," he said.



UN-Arab League mediator Kofi Annan, who brokered the ceasefire, and U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous will brief the Security Council on Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) on the latest developments in Syria.

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Ban said the League of Arab States has been playing a "crucial" role and together with the Security Council is united in trying to deploy a supervision mission.



Currently there are 60 monitoring members and an equal number of civilian staff, which will be increased ,and by the middle of this month there should be 230 or more, with the goal to deploy 300 personnel as soon as possible in May, he said.

The supervision mission would play an important role in monitoring and supervising a ceasefire and cessation of violence, so that Annan can help begin a political dialogue, Ban said.

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