Syria: chief UN observer receives 'clear commitment' from authorities on peace plan

4 July 2012

Addressing reporters in the Syrian capital of Damascus, the UN Chief Military Observer in the country, Major-General Robert Mood, today said the Government had indicated a clear commitment to a peace plan aimed at ending the violence there, and reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to helping the people of Syria.

“I received from the Government a very clear commitment to the six-point plan,” Major-General Mood, who also heads the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS), said after an earlier meeting with a Syrian Government working group, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad, at which he briefed on issues discussed at a recent meeting of the Action Group on Syria.

“And let me convey to you and to the Syrian people that the commitment of the United Nations to the welfare of the Syrian people and to the future is strong, it remains strong and it will continue,” the UNSMIS head added.

Put forward earlier this year by the Joint Special Envoy for the UN and the League of Arab States on Syria, Kofi Annan, the six-point peace plan calls for an end to violence that has gripped the Middle Eastern country, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.

The UN estimates that more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began 16 months ago.

In his remarks to the journalists, Major-General Mood also spoke about the first meeting of the Action Group on Syria, this past weekend in Geneva, which he had attended. The UN-backed Action Group forged an agreement outlining the steps for a peaceful transition in Syria, while strongly condemning the continued and escalating violence that has taken place there.

“Let me also say that the urgency of stopping the violence is maybe the most important issue for everyone involved,” he said. “There is this feeling that it's too much talk in nice hotels, in nice meetings, and too little action to move forward and stop the violence.”

The Security Council established UNSMIS – for three months and with up to 300 unarmed military observers – in April to monitor the cessation of violence in Syria, as well as monitor and support the full implementation of the six-point peace plan. Major-General Mood suspended the monitoring activities of the UN observers mid-June, following an escalation of violence.

“We are reviewing this on a daily basis and [when] the conditions on the ground allow the implementation of our mandated tasks, we will resume our mandated tasks,” the UNSMIS head said.

UNSMIS's authorized three months ends on 20 July, with Council expected to meet before then to decide on its future.

“We are all in this mission to serve the welfare of the Syrian people with all our energies and all our efforts,” Major-General Mood said in response to a question. “What happens after 20th July, is for the Security Council to decide.”

“But I am still very much convinced that the commitment of the UN to the welfare of the Syrian people, to the future of the Syrian people will be strong also after the 20th of July, but exactly what will be the outcome of the Security Council's deliberations and discussions remains to be seen in the coming days and the coming weeks,” the Chief Military Observer added.

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