UN Security Council urged to keep ceasefire monitors in Syria
The United Nations Security Council was urged on Friday to maintain the group of 300 unarmed military observers in Syria so they can contribute to advancing a political solution to the conflict there, dpa reported.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recommended that the council renew the mandate of UN Supervision Mission in Sysia (UNSMIS) when it expires on July 20 despite the intensified conflict between Damascus and armed opposition.
The monitors, who were deployed to verify the ceasefire declared on April 12, last month suspended their activities because of the continued intense fighting.
The 15-nation council is scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the mandate and review the situation in Syria.
"UNSMIS can play a valuable role in supporting political dialogue and local confidence-building, in establishing facts on the ground, and reporting clearly and objectively to the international community," Ban said in a report to the council, which was obtained by dpa.
He expressed the hope that both Damascus and armed opposition would change course and accept a political solution and transition proposed by the Action Group, which included the five UN Security Council permanent members - the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain - who met in Geneva on June 30.
He said international envoy Kofi Annan, who presided over the Action Group, is scheduled to visit Syria "shortly" and also countries participating in that group.
Ban said UNSMIS can support and sustain the implementation of Annan's six-point plan, including a ceasefire and political transition.
But he said the Syrian parties "as of now ... appear to have chosen to pursue a military response to the current conflict, narrowing the space for comprehensive dialogue between the parties on what the future of their country should look like and how it can be achieved."