Leader of U.N. Proposes New Role for Monitors in Syria
Source: NY Times
The United Nations cease-fire monitoring mission in Syria, suspended three weeks ago because of unprecedented violence and the physical danger to its members, should not be disbanded but instead should shift to other activities inside the country to encourage a political solution to the conflict, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a report to the Security Council on Friday.
The 25-page report, which has not yet been officially released, also said that for safety reasons the missionís four regional field offices should be consolidated into one, in Damascus, the capital. The recommendation left unclear whether the size of the 300-member mission should be reduced.
The Security Council must decide in the next few weeks whether to reauthorize the monitoring missionís mandate, which expires on July 20. Mr. Banís recommendation carries enormous weight in its decision.
The monitoring mission was first authorized by the Security Council in April with the approval of a cease-fire and a six-point peace plan created by Kofi Annan, the special envoy to Syria representing the United Nations and the Arab League. But both President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his armed opponents have ignored the plan, with each side accusing the other of subverting it.