Ban says to make proposals on Syria truce mission next week
GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday an advance team of ceasefire monitors would be sent to Syria soon and that he would make proposals by next Wednesday regarding the full observer mission.
"I will make sure that this advance observer mission will be dispatched as soon as possible and try to make concrete proposals by the eighteenth of April for an official observer mission. That I will discuss with Syrian authorities and I will instruct DPKO (U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations) to take the necessary measures," Ban said in an interview with United Nations radio in Geneva.
"At the same time, the political negotiations should continue in an inclusive way involving all the Syrian people," he said, adding that international mediator Kofi Annan would be discussing these next steps of his peace plan with Syrian authorities.
Ban, asked whether a small numbers of observers could make a difference, said that the full force would comprise about 250 people.
"I know that it is a very big country so we will try to have a very effective way of monitoring the situation there. We need complete freedom of movement, the security provided by the Syrian authorities. This is very important at this time. I'm sure that we will be able to have an effective monitoring team even with a small number of people," he said.
Earlier, Ban and Annan held 90-minute talks in Geneva and issued a statement welcoming a resolution adopted by the Security Council to authorize deployment of up to 30 unarmed observers to monitor Syria's fragile ceasefire. Activists reports more deaths in the country and renewed shelling of Homs.
Ban said that top U.N. aid coordinator Valerie Amos would chair a humanitarian forum on Syria in Geneva on April 20 on providing aid to an estimated one million needy displaced in the country and refugees who have fled to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Ralph Gowling)
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