News

UN Set to Vote on Sending Observers to Syria

A handout picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows a Syrian protester waving a pre-Baath Syrian flag during an anti-regime demonstration in Dael in the southern Daraa province late on April 12, 2012.
A handout picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows a Syrian protester waving a pre-Baath Syrian flag during an anti-regime demonstration in Dael in the southern Daraa province late on April 12, 2012.
Margaret Besheer

The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote Saturday on whether to authorize a small observer team to be deployed to Syria to monitor implementation of a fragile truce.

The 15-nation council will decide whether to give the green light for an advance team of up to 30 unarmed observers to be sent to monitor the cease-fire called for in U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.

The truce, which went into effect at 6 a.m. Thursday Damascus time, has been tested by scattered protests and some reported violations, but has largely held.

Diplomats were initially optimistic that they could adopt a western-drafted resolution on Friday that would authorize the advance mission, but Russia presented its own draft text during the day, which Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters was shorter and more concise than the Western one.

“If we are really looking to having this process started - the process of reinforcing the cessation of fire in Syria, I think what we need to do - and it’s been our line of argument - we need to cut off all the things which are not really necessary for this particular purpose,” said Churkin.

The Russian proposal eliminates language included in the Western draft that would require the Syrian government to ensure the observer mission “full, unimpeded and immediate freedom of movement” throughout Syria. It also drops language demanding the Syrian government cease troop movements towards population centers, cease use of heavy weapons and begin a pull-back of its military to their barracks, as called for under Kofi Annan’s peace plan.



Council diplomats met throughout the day Friday and decided to send a revised Western text back to their capitals for instructions, with the hope of voting in the late morning on Saturday.

The U.N. observers likely will be drawn from nearby U.N. peacekeeping missions in south Lebanon and the Golan Heights.

The council will take up consideration in the coming days of authorizing a larger, more complete mission of a few hundred observers to join the advance team.

The United Nations estimates that more than 9,000 Syrians have died during the 13-month long political crisis. More than 43,000 others have fled to neighboring countries and a million Syrians inside the country are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices
. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO
April 14, 2012 6:39 AM
Might as well just send The Bilderbergs and The Clintons, and they will save you a trip, ALL of you guys pushing for the ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT under THE NEW WORLD ORDER!

by: Jacques
April 13, 2012 11:39 PM
A domino that wll not cooporate_ Maybe instead of trying to force a soñution American foreign policy should try and pursuade the gulf states to show the same political good will ltowards the Shiite majorities that they are demanding the Shiite show towards the Sunni in Syria. After all isnt US policy about democracy?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs