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UN leader Ban Ki-moon calls Syria a 'calamity' and threat to world peace

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks with the media after Security Council consultations at U.N. headquarters in New York June 7, 2012.

ALLISON JOYCE/REUTERS

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is demanding international action to stop the war in Syria, which is now "a regional calamity with global ramifications." said Tuesday that the Syrian civil war is a "calamity" that now threatens world peace and demands action by the divided UN Security Council.

Mr. Ban told the opening of the UN General Assembly that the Syria conflict is turning into "a regional calamity with global ramifications" that needs action by the Security Council.

"The international community should not look the other way as violence spirals out of control," Mr. Ban told world leaders, adding that "brutal" rights abuses were being committed by President Bashar al-Assad's government.

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"I call on the international community - especially the members of the Security Council and countries in the region - to solidly and concretely support the efforts" of UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

"We must stop the violence and flow of arms to both sides and set in motion a Syrian-led transition as soon as possible," he added.

The 15-nation Security Council has become paralyzed by deadlock over the 18-month-old uprising and crackdown, which Syrian activists say has left more than 29,000 dead.

Russia, Mr. Assad's main ally, and China have vetoed three Security Council resolutions which could have led to sanctions against the Syrian government.

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