UN Security Council to vote on Syria observer mission Saturday
The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet on Saturday morning to vote on a draft resolution in order to authorize an advance team of unarmed military observers for Syria, the UN Spokesperson's Office announced here late Friday.
The Security Council will meet Saturday at 11:00 a.m." EST ( 1600GMT) to vote on the draft resolution, the office told reporters.
The Security Council resumed its closed discussions on Syria at around 15:00 EST Friday at the UN Headquarters in New York, but they decided to put the draft to vote on Saturday morning, Xinhua reported.
The U.S., together with its allies, and Russia on Friday tabled rival drafts resolution on the authorization of an advance team of unarmed military observers for Syria in order to monitor a ceasefire between the Syrian government forces and armed opposition fighters.
The rival drafts argued over whether Syria should give immediate guarantees of freedom of access to the mission and whether the council should warn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of further measures if he does not keep commitments.
The resolutions were drafted in response to a request by Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League special envoy for Syria, to send the UN observers to monitor compliance with the truce. If the ceasefire holds, a larger mission with up to 250 members could follow.
Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters in Geneva on Friday that a dozen of UN observers is ready to enter Syria, where the ceasefire has been "relatively respected."
The advance team is "standing by to board planes and to get themselves on the ground as soon as possible," once the Security Council gives approval for the mission as hoped, Fawzi said. "We hope both sides (in Syria) will sustain this calm, this relative calm."
Meanwhile, Fawzi said that the truce is just a first step on a long way to peace.
"This is only the beginning of a long road towards reconciling and towards building the future that Syrians aspire to, where there are no detentions without cause, where law enforcement guarantees peace and security in the street -- not the military," he said.
Anna said in a statement issued in Geneva on Thursday that he is "encouraged" by reports that the cessation of hostilities in Syria "appears to be holding," urging all Syrian to seize opportunity to implement the agreed six-point peace plan.
Annan had previously stated that, once the Syrian government would complete the withdrawal of troops by April 10, all parties should move immediately to cease all forms of violence, so that a complete cessation is in place by Thursday, April 12.