UK, Pakistan circulate draft on observers mission in Syria |
Kuwait News Agency - 20 July, 2012
The UK and Pakistan circulated in the Security Council late Thursday short rival technical draft resolutions calling for the renewal of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) mandate which expires today Friday at midnight.
The move came after Russia and China vetoed on Thursday a Western-backed draft resolution, under Chapter VII, that would have renewed the (UNSMIS) mandate for 45 days, but also threaten Damascus with economic sanctions.
According to the British draft resolution circulated after the veto, the Council would renew UNSMIS for a "final" period of 30 days, taking into consideration the Secretary-General's recommendations to reconfigure the Mission, and the "operational implications of the increasingly dangerous security situation in Syria." It would, at the same time, express its willingness to renew the Mission's mandate after the 30-day period only if the Secretary-General reports and the Security Council confirms a reduction in the level of violence sufficient to allow UNSMIS to implement its mandate.
It would request the Secretary-General to report to the Council on the implementation of this resolution within 15 days from its adoption.
Russian Ambassador Churkin described to reporters the new British-sponsored technical rollover draft resolution as "ridiculous," because it contains two contradictory paragraphs: one says it is a "final extension", the other says the Mission can be extended provided certain conditions are met on the ground.
" "Unfortunately, we are going into another round of discussions on this issue and I hope it will be worked out, and this ridiculous contradiction can be taken out of the draft," he said. After the British draft was put in blue (near final form), the Pakistani delegation circulated its own draft.
According to the Pakistani draft, the Council would extend the Mission's mandate for a renewable 45-day period, taking into account the Secretary-General's recommendations.
It would call upon all Syrian parties to guarantee the safety of UNSMIS personnel without prejudice to its freedom of movement and access, and stress that the primary responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian authorities.
It would strongly urge the Syrian authorities and opposition armed groups to cooperate fully with UNSMIS, and request the Secretary-General to report "immediately to the Council any obstructions to the effective operation of UNSMIS by any party." It is still unknown whether the vote will take place on one or both drafts. If Russia vetoes the British draft, the Council will vote on the Pakistani draft, which may in turn be vetoed by the Council Western members because it does not make the renewal "final."
US Ambassador Susan Rice reacted to the idea of the renewal of the Mission's mandate telling reporters after the veto "a rollover of the UN mission without it being tied to the potential for consequences for non-compliance or improvement in conditions on the ground does not make any sense." "We might consider a final brief extension of the mission, should that be proposed, if it would allow for the monitors and civilian staff to withdraw safely," she added.
The 300 unarmed military observers were sent to Syria some three months ago to monitor the ceasefire between government and opposition forces and help them implement Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan.
They have been confined to their hotel rooms since mid-June because there was no ceasefire to monitor and the security situation in Syria has increased to unprecedented level, according to UN officials.
In his latest report on the options for UNSMIS future, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said a shift in Mission structure and focus, mainly political, could be envisioned. In a related matter, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told a press conference on Thursday that the UN is "taking different steps to make sure that we will be able to monitor the (security) situation" in Syria "extremely carefully."
He revealed that the UN Department for Peace-Keeping Operations decided to dispatch immediately the UN military advisor, Babacar Gaye, of Senegal, to the area, to be joined after a few days by the head of the Department Herve Ladsous. "As you know, General Robert Mood is leaving and we need to have a leadership which both sends the message of the continued military aspects of this situation, but also, of course, the need to play a meaningful role in the context of the new situation.
It is a fluid situation, but we find it important now to make sure that we have a strong leadership in place. We will then be guided by what the Security Council decides, of course, and also by the situation on the ground," he said.
He recalled that the UN had "traumatic experiences at the United Nations in the past, and that factor will have to be taken into account," in an indirect reference to the bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003.