Syrian government welcomes UN observers

Xinhua news agency

A SYRIAN Foreign Ministry spokesperson last Wednesday said that Syria is committed to facilitating the mission of UN observers, noting that more than 85 per cent of a protocol between the Syrian government and the observers has been accomplished in order to regulate their operation.

In an interview with the United States CBS network, which was posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday, Jihad Makdissi stressed that it is in Syria’s interest to have observers on the ground to monitor the situation.

“From our side, we want the observers to be here as soon as possible... This is in Syria’s vital interest,” said Makdissi.

“We need someone to monitor the violation,” he said, adding that: “We don’t want the politicians and the decision makers to rely on YouTube or eye witnesses’ account. We need a proper mechanism, which is the observers.

“So from our side, we are committed to facilitating their task,” the spokesperson concluded.

The Syrian government says that the 13-month-old unrest in Syria is the work of armed groups and Islamic extremists backed by a foreign plot rather than a popular will.

A five-member advance team of UN observers arrived in Damascus on Sunday night to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire, which was brokered by UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan and went into effect last Thursday.

Their arrival came a day after the UN Security Council unanimously approved the observer mission. The advance team will be followed by other batches of observers and the total number of the monitors may eventually reach 250.

The team has met with Syrian officials to hammer out a protocol which regulates the work of the observers.

The head of the observer team to Syria, Moroccan Colonel Ahmed Himmiche, said earlier in the day that the number of the observers has increased to seven and it would reach 30 within a couple of days, stressing that the observers’ task is to get engaged with Syrian officials and other parties.

Himmiche told reporters that his mission is “technical,” and their work is moving on “normally so far”.