(AP) UNITED NATIONS - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned Syria's government Friday for continuing to kill innocent civilians despite its commitment to pull all soldiers and heavy weapons out population centers by April 10.
Ban said in a statement that the situation in Syria was rapidly deteriorating, affecting more than 1 million people, with an alarming number of refugees streaming into neighboring countries.
"The 10 April timeline to fulfill the Government's implementation of its commitments, as endorsed by the Security Council, is not an excuse for continued killing," Ban said, adding that such actions violate the consensus position of the Security Council.
On Thursday, the 15-member council issued a Presidential Statement calling on Syria to fully implement Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan's six-point proposal to resolve the year-old uprising against the government of President Bashar Assad.
"The Syrian authorities remain fully accountable for grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. These must stop at once," Ban said in the statement.
The secretary-general has been speaking out against the violence in Syria for many months, but his remarks in recent days have been especially strong.
On Thursday Ban criticized the Assad government for unleashing attacks in response to "the legitimate demands of the Syrian people — the same demands that people across the Arab world have been making for more than a year now."
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