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UN chief urges cease-fire in Syria to speed aid

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (AP) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says a cease-fire must happen soon in Syria so that humanitarian aid can be dispatched.

Ban says a statement approved by the U.N. Security Council this week “made it quite clear in unmistakable terms that all the violence must stop.”

The U.N. says more than 8,000 people have been killed amid the government’s yearlong crackdown on protesters.

Syria says the opposition must lay down arms first. Western countries insist President Bashar Assad’s forces must stop first.

Ban told reporters Thursday in Malaysia that the International Red Cross has proposed a few hours’ halt in violence every day so humanitarian aid can be delivered.

He added that “nobody is discussing military operations” to resolve the crisis.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)