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UN draft calls for observers to monitor Syria truce

US-drafted resolution calls on UNSC to authorize deployment of inspectors to monitor Syrian compliance with ceasefire.

April 13, 2012 01:36
2 minute read.
United Nations Security Council

United Nations Security Council 311 (R). (photo credit: Mike Segar / Reuters)

UNITED NATIONS - A US-drafted resolution would have the UN Security Council authorize an initial deployment to Syria of up to 30 unarmed observers to monitor compliance with a fragile UN-backed ceasefire that took hold earlier on Thursday.

The 2-page draft, obtained by Reuters, would have the 15-nation council say Damascus must "ensure full and unimpeded freedom of movement throughout Syria for all mission personnel, including access, without prior notice, to any place or establishment that the mission deems necessary."

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Earlier on Thursday UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the council that Syria has not fully complied with the terms of his six-point peace plan but called for the swift deployment of a UN truce-monitoring force to the country, US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said.

The draft also would have the council condemn "widespread, systematic, and gross violations of human rights ... by the Syrian authorities (and urge that) those responsible for human rights violations shall be held accountable."

It includes other demands on the Syrian government, which it says must fully comply with the Annan plan, "(a) cease troop movements towards population centers, (b) cease all use of heavy weapons in such centers, and (c) begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centers."

It also "demands further that the Syrian government withdraw its troops and heavy weapons from population centers to their barracks ... calls upon all parties in Syria immediately to cease all armed violence in all its forms and to cease all arbitrary detentions, abductions, and torture."

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The draft includes a vague threat of future action against Damascus. It says the council "expresses its determination, in the event that the Syrian government does not implement its commitments to consider further measures as appropriate."

It was not immediately clear how Russia and China, which vetoed two previous resolutions condemning the Syrian President Bashar Assad's 13-month assault on anti-government protesters, reacted to the US draft, which council diplomats were discussing behind closed doors.

Most of the demands in the draft resolution are addressed to the Syrian government, which could irritate Moscow and Beijing. Both have urged the council to be balanced and to address both the Syrian government and opposition.

It was also not clear when the text would go to a vote. Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said earlier on Thursday that he hoped the council could adopt a resolution on Friday to enable deployment of the first group of observers within the next few days.

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