08/17/2012, 00.00
SYRIA

UN calls off peace mission to Syria

The suspension was passed yesterday by the Security Council. No longer conditions to continue the work of observers. The mandate expires on August 19. Russia is opposed to the decision and warns of potential negative consequences.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The UN will not renew its peacekeeping mission in Syria. The mandate expires on August 19, but the Security Council has already voted for its suspension. According to Edmond Mulet deputy head of the observers, the situation on the ground is risky and no longer safe enough to continue their work. On 15 August, a bomb exploded in downtown Damascus opposite the hotel that houses the United Nations personnel. Over the next eight days the 101 military observers will leave Damascus. But a civilian office will remain open. "Although the situation is difficult - Mulet says - but we must look for a diplomatic approach to ending the conflict."

The end of the mission has been criticized by Russia, which fears negative consequences for the future of Syria. Yesterday, Vitaly Churkin, Moscow's envoy to the UN, has called on all states of the Security Council to launch an appeal for an end to the conflict and proposed a meeting to discuss the crisis also open to Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The UN mission, which began in April along with the plan of Kofi Annan, former UN /Arab special envoy League, had already expired on June 16 last. Despite the steady deterioration of security conditions and obstacles to field investigations, the Council voted to extend it for another three months. The observers have often been victims of attacks, intimidation and stone-throwing by rebels and army. The debate on the maintenance of the mission in Syria came after Annan's resignation August 2 and the inability to bring the parties to a cease-fire.

Meanwhile, the conflict threatens to spread to Lebanon also. Yesterday, the Persian Gulf countries urged their nationals to leave the country after the kidnapping of 20 Syrian Sunni Muslim by the Meqdad clan, a powerful Lebanese Shiite family.

 

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