UNITED NATIONS : UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday urged protesters in Nepal to stop blocking essential supplies and called for dialogue to resolve differences.

Nepal is heavily dependent on India for fuel and other supplies, but little cargo has crossed the border since protests against a new constitution broke out in late September. Ban expressed "growing concern over the blocking of essential supplies on the Nepal-India border," his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

"He is alarmed by reports of the obstruction, and destruction, of life-saving medical supplies and the continued impact on humanitarian operations." Ban "calls on all sides to lift these restrictions without further delay and underlines Nepal's right of free transit."

The appeal came ahead of planned protests on Saturday that could exacerbate the shortages. Nepal's government accuses India, which has criticized the new constitution, of retaliating with an "unofficial blockade" -- a charge New Delhi denies.