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
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.
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