WASHINGTON - The 14 months of bloodshed inSyria that has continued despite an April 12 ceasefire andclaimed more than 9,000 lives is a "totally unacceptable andintolerable situation" that must stop so political dialogue canbegin, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday.
The priority for the United Nations is to deploy a completesupervision mission of 300 unarmed UN monitors as soon aspossible, Ban said at the Center for Strategic and InternationalStudies, a Washington think tank.
His comments came on a day in which the Syrian governmentsaid voters turned out in large numbers for a parliamentaryelection, that opposition supporters denounced as asham.
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 allparties, government military forces and opposition forces, "thenpolitical dialogue must begin in an inclusive way for apolitical resolution reflecting the genuine aspiration of theSyrian people, that's our priority," he said.
UN-Arab League mediator Kofi Annan, who brokered theceasefire, and U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous will briefthe Security Council on Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) on thelatest developments in Syria.Ban said the League of Arab States has been playing a"crucial" role and together with the Security Council is unitedin trying to deploy a supervision mission.
Currently there are 60 monitoring members and an equalnumber of civilian staff, which will be increased ,and by themiddle of this month there should be 230 or more, with the goalto deploy 300 personnel as soon as possible in May, he said.The supervision mission would play an important role inmonitoring and supervising a ceasefire and cessation ofviolence, so that Annan can help begin a political dialogue, Bansaid.