The international community welcomed a UN Security Council resolution adopted on Saturday of sending an advance observation team to Syria in order to monitor a ceasefire between the country's government and opposition.
|Chinese UN Ambassador Li Baodong addressed the Security Council on April 14 after the 15-member Council adopted a resolution to send an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to Syria. [Shen Hong/Xinhua]|
According to the resolution, up to 30 unarmed military observers are authorized 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 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.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the adoption of the resolution, which is the first legally binding UN document since the outbreak of the crisis in the Middle East country in March 2011.
China and Russia, which had vetoed two previous UN resolutions forcing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, called on all parties to support Annan's mediation and cooperate with the advance team.
"We need to guard against any attempt to create difficulties or trouble for Mr. Annan's mediation," Chinese UN Ambassador Li Baodong said.
Li said China hoped the advance team would fully respect Syria's sovereignty, carry out its mission in a neutral, objective and just manner, and play an active and constructive role in sustaining the ease of the tensions in Syria.
China also hoped the Syrian government and other relevant parties will vigorously support and cooperate with the advance team, in order to achieve "the cessation of violence and launch of political dialogue," Li said.
Vitaly Churkin, the Russian permanent representative to the United Nations, called on all parties to "establish favorable conditions including from the standpoint of ensuring security" for the UN observers.
"It is essential that all Syrian parties including the armed opposition quickly refrain from violence, strictly observe the Annan plan, and begin to organize a broad-based negotiating process," Churkin said.
The full mission in Syria would reach 250 observers, and Russia awaited the proposals to launch a "broad-scale UN observer presence" after consultations with the Syrian government, he said.
Western council members, who have insisted on forcing Assad to shift power to his deputy, welcomed the adoption of the new resolution on Syria as well.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said the resolution indicated the Security Council had taken a step toward fulfilling its own responsibilities.
The European Union (EU) hoped the resolution would open the way to a fully-fledged UN observation mission in Syria in accordance with Kofi Annan's plan, even if the situation remained very unstable and uncertain.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on the Syrian government to take this opportunity to fully cooperate with the initial observation team.
"The first priority is to ensure a complete cessation of violence in Syria and to allow for full and unhindered access to humanitarian aid," said Ashton.
South African Deputy Foreign Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said all sides in the conflict should "fully implement their commitments" made to UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
Annan's six-point plan 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, which has been facing growing international pressure to end its alleged crackdown on opposition strongholds, has accepted Annan's plan.