France: UN likely to pull plug on observers in Syria

August 3, 2012 00:29

UNITED NATIONS - The Security Council will most likely not renew the mandate of the UN observer mission in Syria later this month, which would require it to pull out of the conflict-torn country, France's envoy to the United Nations said on Thursday.

"I think the mission will disappear on the 19th of August," French Ambassador Gerard Araud, president of the Security Council this month, told reporters. The mandate of the UN mission in Syria, known as UNSMIS, expires on that date.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin criticized Araud for declaring UNSMIS effectively dead and made clear Moscow would "strongly urge the secretary-general (Ban Ki-moon) to continue with the monitoring component" of UNSMIS after August 19.

In order for the monitors to remain in Syria after August 19, the council would have to adopt a new resolution to that effect. Araud made clear it was difficult to imagine the council reaching agreement to do so.

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