Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed today the decision by the League of Arab States to suspend and impose political and economic sanctions on Syria until the Government ends its crackdown on protesters.
In a statement released by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban urged Syrian authorities to "heed the call from the League to stop violence by the army against civilians immediately."
The League voted to suspend Syria from participating in its council meetings and activities starting on Wednesday until the Government implements all of its commitments under the peace plan proposed by the League last week.
The plan includes the release of prisoners, the withdrawal of security forces from the streets and talks between the Government and opposition.
Although Syrian authorities have accepted the plan, violence has continued in the country, with the total death toll surpassing 3,500, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Mr. Ban called for Syrian authorities "to implement the plan fully and speedily," and welcomed the intention of the League to protect civilians while expressing his readiness to provide support when requested.
Mr. Ban also said he was encouraged by efforts from the League to "promote a genuine and inclusive political dialogue, starting with the League's call for a meeting by the Syrian opposition in the coming days," and reiterated that violence must stop immediately "to open the way for a credible Syrian-led process of comprehensive political change that will address the democratic aspirations of the Syrian people."
Protesters began taking to the streets in Syria in March as part of a wider pro-democracy movement across North Africa and the Middle East this year that has toppled long-standing regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.