Syria: UN mandate for observer mission ends
THE United Nations Security Council will let the UN’s military observer mission’s mandate in Syria expire on Sunday and will back a new civilian office there to support UN and Arab League efforts to end the conflict.
France’s UN ambassador Gerard Araud, Security Council president, said members had agreed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s proposal for a liaison office.
Mr Araud said the council agreed conditions set for extending the mission past Sunday had not been met. He said there was no halt to the Syrian government’s use of heavy weapons or violence.
The Security Council authorised the 300-strong observer mission to deploy to Syria for 90 days to monitor implementation of a six-point peace plan brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan. The plan was to start with a ceasefire. Mr Assad’s government and opposition forces agreed but never implemented the plan.
Because of the worsening bloodshed, the observers have been mainly confined to their hotels since 15 June, and their numbers have been cut by about two-thirds. Mr Annan announced his resignation last month. Russia and China have vetoed three resolutions that would have stepped up pressure on Mr Assad by threatening sanctions if the fighting didn’t stop.
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