UN Security Council adopts plan to send observers to Syria

UNITED NATIONS - The Security Council on Saturday adopted a resolution authorising the deployment of UN military observers to monitor a cease-fire between the Syrian government and opposition fighters, as Pakistan reaffirmed its support for the UN-Arab League plan for settling the crisis. Pakistan’s Acting Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar, raised his hand in supporting of the resolution along with other Council members. The vote marked the first time all Council members agreed on a resolution since the conflict began more than a year ago. The resolution calls on both sides to immediately “cease all armed violence in all its forms.” It also calls on the Syrian government to implement the six-point peace plan put forward by international envoy Kofi Annan, including the pull-back of troops and heavy weapons from cities and town. It calls for the deployment of an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to initiate contacts with both sides and begin to report on whether there has been “a full cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties.”
The council said it intends to immediately establish a larger UN supervision mission after consultations between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Syrian government.
Deployment of a larger force will be “subject to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties.”
Speaking after the vote, Pakistan’s Acting Permanent Representative, Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar, said the resolution was “an important step in our overall objective of promoting a peaceful political solution of the situation in Syria, with full respect for its unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Unanimous support by the Council for this objective sends a strong and unambiguous message, of unity and commitment, of urgency and responsibility, in addressing a situation, which has had tragic humanitarian consequences, and which has the potential of negatively impacting an already fragile regional situation,” she added.
Tarar praised Annan’s efforts, saying his mission have not only brought the Council together around a common platform but also given hope for the success of their collective objective. “This is an example of how preventive diplomacy and mediation can deliver under principles of objectivity, balance, engagement and dialogue,” he said.
“We believe that all sides and all quarters should fully cooperate with the Special Envoy to ensure the success of his mandate. Any steps or actions that may undermine his work should be avoided,” the Pakistan envoy said.
“We hope that the Council will stay the course in our collective pursuit of a peaceful political settlement of the Syrian crisis”.
Annan’s spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, has said that Annan, a former UN secretary-general, envisions a mission with about 250 observers.
Russia and China vetoed two previous resolutions that would have condemned President Bashar Assad’s government for its crackdown on protesters and raised the threat of possible further action.
They argued that the resolutions were not balanced and didn’t address the attacks by rebel fighters.
The cease-fire, which formally took effect Thursday, is at the center of Annan’s peace plan, which is aimed at ending more than a year of bloodshed that has killed over 9,000 people, according to the United Nations, and to launch inclusive Syrian-led talks on the country’s political future.
Annan’s 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.

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