Calls for UN monitors in Syria ceasefire

2012-04-13 08:38
Damascus - A fragile and hard-won ceasefire appeared to be holding in Syria as Western nations on Friday began drawing up plans to send UN monitors to the conflict-torn nation.

"I am encouraged by reports that the situation in Syria is relatively calm and that the cessation of hostilities appears to be holding," the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said in a statement.

But as the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the rebels traded accusations of trying to wreck the ceasefire, Annan insisted on Thursday that "all parties have obligations to implement fully the six-point plan".

"What has happened today does not constitute full compliance by the Syrian government," Annan was quoted as saying as he briefed the UN Security Council. "Syrian troops and armour must return to their barracks immediately."

After 13 months of war, which activists say has claimed more than 10 000 lives since March 2011, Annan said the UN Security Council must demand that troops be pulled out of cities.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said plans were being drawn up to send observers to Syria, starting with the dispatch of a UN peacekeeping general as early as Friday.

Optimism

An advanced mission of 20-30 observers could be in place early next week, diplomats said. The full mission would be at least 200 monitors.

Ban said "the world is watching however with sceptical eyes", adding previous promises made by the regime "have not been kept".

A draft Security Council resolution, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, includes demands that Assad "visibly" implement his commitment to withdraw troops and guns from population centres.

And it adds that if the Syrian government does not implement its commitments, the council would "consider further measures as appropriate".

Despite the prospect of tough talks, some diplomats said they were optimistic an agreement on the draft could be reached by Friday.

And long-time Syrian ally Russia said the Security Council could pass the text as early as Friday.

Test of attitude


"We are determined, we are moving with pace and purpose," said one UN diplomat involved in the talks. "We all want this mission in as soon as possible," the diplomat added.

"It will be a test of the attitude of Russia and China," another diplomat commented to AFP.

Syrians voiced hope the UN-backed ceasefire would last, but expressed fear that the government and the rebels were unlikely to commit for good.

"Inshallah [God willing] it will last," said Wassim, standing in his shop in a Damascus square.

Despite the regime's commitment to pull back, the spokesperson for the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), Basma Qoudmani, said "we have concrete proof that heavy weapons are still in population centres".

World powers said the tentative truce in Syria was a "fragile" first step and joined the calls for Damascus to carry out a broader peace plan and permit international observers to monitor it.

Peaceful demonstrations

In a statement after two days of talks in Washington, foreign ministers from the Group of Eight major economies, which include Western powers and Syria's main supporter Russia, urged "immediate" action to send in observers.

For protesters though, the first real test of the government's commitment will be to allow peaceful demonstrations.

"We call on the people to demonstrate and express themselves... The right to demonstrate is a principle point of the plan," Burhan Ghalioun, who leads the exile SNC, said.

But the interior ministry insists people wanting to demonstrate must have permits.

Renewed bloodshed on Thursday killed at least eight people, including seven civilians, and wounded dozens more, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Even so, the toll is markedly lower than it has been in recent weeks, when there have often been scores of people killed.

Crimes against humanity

The interior ministry urged tens of thousands of people who fled the violence both inside and outside the country to return home and offered an amnesty to opposition gunmen without "blood on their hands".

The rebel Free Syrian Army, for its part, insisted it was sticking to the ceasefire.

"The regime is being elusive. We are 100% committed to the ceasefire, but the regime is not abiding by it," FSA spokesperson Colonel Kassem Saadeddine said by internet.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said meanwhile that France had evidence that crimes against humanity have been committed by the Syrian regime.

"France has gathered a certain number of elements of evidence which would enable us if the time comes, notably at the UN, to take it before the international courts, because crimes against humanity have been committed," he told reporters on the sidelines of the G8 talks.

- SAPA
Read more on:    bashar al-assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
6 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your sense of duty is emphasized and you may put your heart and soul into helping, serving and being there for the community in a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.