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Middle east

UN prepares for observer force amid uneasy ceasefire

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-04-13

The UN Security Council could pass a resolution Friday to allow observers to go to Syria next week. UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the council on Thursday that the full mission would only go if violence does not resume in coming days.

AFP - The UN Security Council could pass a resolution on Friday to allow unarmed observers to go to Syria next week to monitor the fragile ceasefire, diplomats said.

An advanced mission of 20-30 observers could be in place early next week, diplomats said. The full mission would be at least 200 monitors.

But UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the council on Thursday that the full mission would only go if violence does not resume in coming days, US ambassador Susan Rice told reporters.

Annan said the mission must have guaranteed free access across the country and security assurances from the Syrian government and opposition.



Rice, the Security Council president for April who gave details of Annan's closed briefing to the 15-nation council, said "urgent" talks on the resolution had started.

Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said the resolution could be passed on Friday.

"We hope that even tomorrow we might adopt a Security Council resolution on the deployment of that advance group of monitors," Churkin told reporters.

"The full-fledged mission will take some time to deploy," he added. "If we are able to put 20 or 30 monitors early next week, very good. If we are able to put more in the next few days that's even better."

Russia, which has blocked two previous resolutions on Syria, would support the move and that it was "crucial" for the monitors to be quickly in place.

He told reporters that at least 20-30 monitors should be in the advanced force which should be in place "early next week".

Annan asked the council to pass a resolution which would allow the advanced mission and express the council's intent to send the full observer force.

According to Rice, Annan said the full force could not go if new hostilities erupt between the Syrian government and opposition in coming days.

She said the observer mission required "complete freedom of movement, unimpeded access throughout the entire Syrian territory, unobstructed communications, unimpeded access to all Syrians" and "security guarantees" from all sides.

Syria's UN ambassador Bashar Jaafari said his government supported the sending of the observer force and was committed to cooperating with Annan's six-point peace plan.

Date created : 2012-04-12

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