The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously decided to approve the deployment of up to 300 unarmed UN military observers to Syria.
The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously decided to approve the deployment to Syria of up to 300 unarmed UN military observers in order to monitor a fragile ceasefire between the Syrian government forces and armed opposition fighters. [Xinhua photo]
The decision was made in order to monitor a fragile ceasefire between the Syrian government forces and armed opposition fighters.
In a resolution adopted with a vote of 15-0, the UNSC "decides to establish an initial period of 90 days a United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) under the commander of a Chief Military Observer, comprising an initial deployment of up to 300 unarmed military observers as well as an appropriate civilian component as required by the mission to fulfill its mandate."
The UNSC "decides also that the mandate of the mission shall be to monitor a cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties and to monitor and support the full implementation of the envoy's six-point proposal," the resolution said.
There are seven monitors already in Syria after the Security Council last Saturday authorized an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to Syria in order to monitor a ceasefire negotiated by Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy of the UN and Arab League for Syria, Xinhua reported.
The draft resolution came in response to a recommendation by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to expand the UN observation mission in Syria, which has been plunged into a political crisis since March 2011.
After meeting behind closed doors for more than three hours late Friday, the 15-nation reached a tentative agreement on a draft resolution, which merged two rival drafts circulated by Russia and the European Council members, the diplomats said.
The text of the draft resolutions was sent to capitals overnight and the council met at around 11 a.m. EDT on Saturday for a vote.
On Thursday, the secretary-general said that the situation in Syria "remains highly precarious," and he looked forward to an early action by the UN Security Council on his proposed expansion of the UN ceasefire observation mission in the Middle East country.
"On Syria, the situation remains highly precarious," Ban said when addressing reporters outside the UN Security Council Chambers after he sent a letter to the 15-nation UN body to call for more observers into Syria to monitor the week-old ceasefire in Syria.
As is common on such missions, Syria would have ultimate approval over the nationalities involved.
There are seven monitors already in Syria after the Security Council last Saturday authorized an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to Syria in order to monitor a ceasefire negotiated by Annan, the former UN secretary-general.
The Security Council "calls upon all parties in Syria, including the opposition, immediately to cease all armed violence in all its forms," the resolution said.
The Security Council "calls upon the Syrian armed opposition groups and relevant elements to respect relevant provisions of the Preliminary Understanding," the resolution said.
The Security Council "invites all member states to consider making appropriate contributions to UNSMIS as requested by the secretary-general," the resolution said.
China and Russia have already expressed their willingness to send personnel to join the UNSMIS.
The Security Council "calls upon the parties to guarantee the safety of UNSMIS personnel 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 reaffirmed the 15-nation council's support to Annan and his work and called upon all the Syrian parties to implement Annan's six-point peace plan.
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.
The Security Council reaffirmed "its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and to the purposes and principles of the (UN) Charter," the resolution said.
The Security Council condemned "the widespread violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities, as well as any human rights abuses by armed groups," said the resolution, which said that "those responsible shall be held accountable," and expressed the council's "profound regret at the death of many thousands of people in Syria."
The United Nations said that more than 10,000 people were killed in the 13-month crisis in Syria while Damascus blamed " armed terrorists" for the killing of thousands of military and security personnel.
Shortly after the adoption of the resolution, Ban welcomed the unanimous decision by the UN Security Council to authorize an expanded UN truce observer mission in Syria, and urged the Syrian government and oppositions to create conditions needed for the early deployment of the UN mission to monitor a week-long ceasefire in the Middle East country.
"The secretary-general strongly welcomes the unanimous decision of the Security Council to authorize a United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) for an initial period of 90 days," said a statement issued here by Ban's spokesman.
"Deployments will proceed expeditiously, subject to his assessment of developments on the ground, including the consolidation of the cessation of violence," the statement said.
"The secretary-general calls upon the government of Syria and other parties swiftly to create the conditions necessary for the deployment of the mission," the statement said.
"He stresses the need for the government of Syria to end all violence and human rights violations, and in particular to stop the use of heavy weapons and to withdraw such weapons and armed units from population centers," the statement said.
For his part, Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, called on all the Syrian parties, including the Syrian government and oppositions, to fully cooperate with Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy of the UN and Arab League for Syria, in order to pave the way for the launch of a Syrian-led inclusive political process.
Li, when taking the floor at the UN Security Council after the council adopted the resolution co-sponsored by China, said, "We urge all parties, the Syrian government and opposition included, to fully cooperate with Mr. Annan in his good offices efforts and create conditions for the launch of a Syrian-led inclusive political process."
"We also call upon the international community to continue its firm support for Mr. Annan's good offices'efforts and consolidate the results having been achieved and we strongly oppose any word and act aimed at creating difficulties for Mr. Annan's good offices," he said.
Vitaly Churkin, the Russian permanent representative to the United Nations, said at the Security Council, "It is very important for the external players involved in the Syrian issue to act very responsibly, they should have also act bearing in mind the Security Council's adopted provisions, so that it would also show the Syrian parties can have an inclusive political process in terms of establishing a democratic pluralistic system in Syria for all Syrians irrespective of their ethnic, or religious background, " Churkin said.
"The resolution establishes clear parameters for responsibility by all Syrian parties with a cessation of violence, and a need to cooperate with UN observers and the need to cooperate with the UN special envoy," Kofi Annan, Churkin said.
Bashar Ja'afari, the Syrian permanent representative to the United Nations, told the Security Council that Damascus is committed to comply with the peace plan and ceasefire proposed by Annan.
However, Ja'afari complained that some Western countries of supporting armed opposition in Syria.
He also objected the statements in which some council members called the Syrian government "regime," describing the Syrian authorities as a democratic government in the Middle East country.
Meanwhile, French UN Ambassador Gerard Araud said that "we're taking a risk" with the deployment of the UN mission in Syria, adding that the council would have to consider sanctions if the Syrian government continues the violence.