News / Middle East

UN Syria Chief: Violence Impeded Mission’s Work

Maj. Gen. Robert Mood,  head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, speaks to reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, June 19, 2012 Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, speaks to reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, June 19, 2012
x
Maj. Gen. Robert Mood,  head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, speaks to reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, June 19, 2012
Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, head of the U.N. observer mission in Syria, speaks to reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, June 19, 2012
Margaret Besheer
UNITED NATIONS - The head of the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria said he suspended patrols by the 300 unarmed observers late last week because of security concerns for the monitors, but that they would remain in the country.  Norwegian Major General Robert Mood told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that his monitors had been targeted several times in recent weeks, making it extremely difficult to carry out their mandated tasks.

Major General Robert Mood briefed council members for two hours in a closed-door meeting.  He said several factors went into his decision on Saturday to temporarily suspend the United Nations Supervision Mission in Syria, or UNSMIS.

“I halted the operations with UNSMIS because of the risk level - the violence - and because it is difficult to implement mandated tasks in these circumstances," said Mood. "That in itself is a message.  We need to see a change if the activities of the mission in its current configuration, under the current mandate, is going to be meaningful.”

He said in order to restart patrols, there must be a significant reduction in violence and commitments from both the government and opposition for the observers’ safety. He said so far he has only received such a commitment from the government.

In April, the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved the deployment of up to 300 unarmed observers to monitor what was to be a cessation of hostilities in Syria and the implementation of mediator Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.  After a brief lull in the violence, attacks spiked, including massacres in the towns of al-Houla and Qubair.

The U.N. Security Council will have to decide by July 20 whether to extend the U.N.'s initial 90-day deployment.  A report with proposals for the observers from the Secretary-General is expected on July 2.

U.N. Peacekeeping Chief Hervé Ladsous also briefed the council.  He told reporters that the United Nations has decided not to modify the mission now, but would consider its options as the July deadline approaches.  He said they would center on scenarios in which the security situation improves dramatically, allowing the observers to carry out their mission or other options if that does not happen.  But Ladsous stressed that Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan remains the focus of efforts.

“Again, one has to say there is no other plan, no other game in town," said Ladsous. "There is no 'Plan B' [alternative plan].  So the six-point plan of Kofi Annan remains the reference, the framework, for a settlement of this dramatic crisis.”

China’s Ambassador Li Baodong, who holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation Security Council this month, said the council calls on all parties to implement the Annan plan immediately and without conditions.

Syria’s ambassador, Bashar Ja’afari, reiterated Damascus’ full commitment to the plan and added that the government hopes the observers can restart their mission soon.  

The United Nations says the political violence during the past 16 months has killed at least 10,000 Syrians and caused a humanitarian crisis, leaving more than 1 million Syrians in need of assistance and making at least 86,000 more refugees.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid