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UN chief asks Syria to end violence before 300 monitors arrive

Delhi,Diplomacy, Fri, 27 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) UN chief Ban Ki-moon Friday discussed what he called the "alarming situation" in Syria with India and stressed that violence must end immediately before for the deployment of 300 monitors which has been sanctioned by the Security Council.


"I am greatly alarmed by the escalating violence in Syria. Shelling and explosions in residential areas are continuing," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is on a four-day visit, told reporters here.


"Heavy violence is happening in populated areas in contravention of what the Syrian government has promised. This is totally unacceptable," he said.


The situation in Syria figured prominently in discussions Ban had with both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Friday.


Syria was among a cluster of global issues that included the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan and other trouble spots in the world, including Afghanistan.


Manmohan Singh is understood to have reiterated India's position that the issue must be resolved by a Syria-led process without any external intervention, official sources said.


In his discussions, the sources said the UN chief stressed on quicker deployment of 300 monitors which was sanctioned by the UN Security Council Tuesday.


An advanced team of 11 UN observers are already in Syria to monitor what is seen as a fragile ceasefire between the government and the rebels and to prepare the ground for the deployment of the fuller UN mission.



The Bashar-al-Assad regime and the rebels have locked into a confrontation since the protests began 13 months ago in the Middle East country ruled by the Baath party for decades.


The UN looks forward to work with the the international situation on the situation in Syria.


"First of all, the Syria government must stop violence. I have conveyed to President Assad that they must exercise maximum restraint," Ban said.


"Even before the 300-member supervisory mission goes to Syria, they must stop violence. Our priority is to accelerate the supervisory mission. We hope this will challenge the dynamics of the situation on the ground in Syria," he said after the talks.



The UN chief said one million people have been affected by the violence and urged the Syrian government to fully comply with the UN-Arab League representative Kofi Annan's six-point plan.


Annan, Ban's predecessor, had told the UN Security Council Tuesday that the situation in Syria is "bleak" and voiced alarm at reports that government troops are still carrying on with military operations in towns where UN observers are not present.


Annan stressed that the speedy deployment of the 300-strong UN observer force, cleared by the Security Council on Saturday, is "crucial" to verify what is happening on the ground and potentially "change the political dynamics".


"The observers would provide the international community with "incontrovertible" information to increase pressure for a cease-fire by the government and opposition," he said.


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