Briefing on UN Supervision Mission in Syria
Council members will be briefed tomorrow afternoon (24 April) on the recently authorised UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) in closed consultations by UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan (via video-link) and Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Hervé Ladsous.
It seems Annan will report on his efforts towards mediating a peaceful political solution to the Syrian crisis on the basis of his six-point plan. Ladsous is expected to brief on the deployment of the advance team of 30 military observers authorised by resolution 2042 of 14 April and the planning for further deployment as authorised by resolution 2043 of 21 April.
Last Saturday (21 April) the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2043 authorising the deployment of up to 300 unarmed military observers and an appropriate civilian component for a period of 90 days, subject to the Secretary-General’s assessment that the situation on the ground is sufficiently safe. Annan has said the adoption of resolution 2043 was a pivotal moment for Syria’s stabilization and called on all forces to cease violence and cooperate with the UN monitors with a particular call on the government of President Bashar Al-Assad to stop the use of heavy weapons and withdraw from population centres.
Today, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe briefed the Council during its open debate on the Middle East. Pascoe said that the cessation of violence in Syria remains incomplete and that the objective of UNSMIS was not to freeze the situation on the ground but to create conditions necessary for a political process. He reiterated the need for the Syrian government to stop the use of heavy weapons and withdraw from population centres. He also noted that other aspects of Annan’s six-point plan had not been sufficiently implemented, in particular the release of those arbitrarily detained and the right to peaceful demonstration.
After Pascoe’s briefing, Council members will likely be interested in hearing from Annan what action the Syrian government has taken to visibly cease violence and withdraw since its 12 April commitment to do so. (Annan last briefed the Council on 12 April and since then, while there have been some media reports of a lull in the violence, other reports indicate that shelling has continued in Homs, Hama, and Douma—a suburb of Damascus.) Council members are also likely to want to be updated on the opposition’s commitments and actions with regard to a cessation of violence.
There is also likely to be interest in timelines for UNSMIS deployment and planning for the integration of a civilian component for the mission in line with its mandated role to monitor and support the full implementation of the six-point plan. Council members will also likely be interested in an update on the Syrian government’s position on air transportation for UNSMIS.
Council members may also be interested in getting Annan’s assessment of regional and international support for his six-point plan based on his recent visits to Tehran on 11 April and to Doha on 17 April, for an Arab League ministerial meeting on Syria, as well as his team’s interaction with Turkey and the Friends of Syria group (which last met in Paris on 19 April).
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