The UN Security Council on Saturday decided to send an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to Syria in order to monitor a ceasefire between the Syrian government forces and armed opposition fighters.
|Delegates representing members of the United Nations Security Council raise their hands during a vote on a resolution regarding Syria in New York, on April 14, 2012. The U.N. Security Council on Saturday unanimously decided to send an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to Syria in order to monitor a ceasefire between the Syrian government forces and armed opposition fighters. [Shen Hong/Xinhua]|
The Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution authorizing the observers to "liaise with the parties and to begin to report on the implementation of a full cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties."
The Security Council "expresses its intention, subject to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties, to establish immediately, after consultations between the secretary-general and the Syrian government, a United Nations supervision mission in Syria to monitor a cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties," the resolution said.
The UN mission is also mandated to monitor the implementation of the six-point peace plan by Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy of the UN and Arab League for Syria, the resolution said.
Annan's six-point plan, widely backed by the international community, calls for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centers, a daily halt in fighting for the delivery of humanitarian aid and treatment for the wounded, as well as talks between the government and opposition.
The Syrian government has accepted Annan's six-point plan and the April 10 deadline to put an early end to the fighting in the Middle East country, which has been plunged into the crisis since March 2011.
The advance team, drawn from various UN peacekeeping or observer missions in the region, will be deployed soon after the approval of the Security Council, Ahmad Fawzi, Annan's spokesman said earlier in Geneva.
The full mission would reach 250 observers, Fawzi said, and as is common on such missions, Syria would have ultimate approval over the nationalities involved.
Vitaly Churkin, the Russian permanent representative to the UN, told the Security Council after the vote that the revised draft resolution is "more balanced and better reflect the realities on the ground."
Shortly before the council vote, Churkin said that he was satisfied with the revised draft and would vote in favor of the text.
Churkin, when speaking to reporters here Friday, criticized the U.S. draft for asking too many work to be done, saying, "We have put together a shorter version of (the U.S.) text."
Russia's draft takes out the demand for "unimpeded" access by observers and the warning of new measures. It also crosses out a condemnation of human rights abuses in Syria.
The Security Council "calls upon the Syrian government to ensure the effective operation of the mission, including its advance team" by "ensuring its full, unimpeded, and immediate freedom of movement and access as necessary to fulfill its mandate, " the resolution said.
The resolution also calls on the Syrian government to allow "unobstructed communications" for the mission, including its advance team, and allow it to "freely and privately communicate with individuals throughout Syria without retaliation against any person as a result of interaction with the mission."
The Security Council "calls upon the parties to guarantee the safety of the advance team without prejudice to its freedom of movement and access, and stresses that the primary responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian authorities," the resolution said.
The resolution "requests the secretary-general to report immediately to the Security Council any obstruction to the effective operation with the Syrian authorities."
The Security Council "expresses its intention to assess the implementation of this resolution and to consider further steps as appropriate," the resolution said.
Meanwhile, the Security Council "reiterates its call for the Syrian authorities to allow immediate, full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance, in accordance with international law and guiding principles of humanitarian assistance and calls upon all parties in Syria, in particular the Syrian authorities, to cooperate fully with the United Nations and relevant humanitarian organizations to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance," the resolution said.
UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said here Friday that humanitarian organizations need to obtain unhindered access into Syria as there are at least a million people remain in need of urgent humanitarian help in the country.
"Even as the political and military situation evolves, the immediate priority for humanitarian organizations is to obtain unhindered access, especially to people in areas which have seen heavy fighting," Amos said in a statement.