Joint UN-Arab League Special Envoy on Syria Kofi Annan. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan, welcomed the Security Council?s decision to authorize a supervision mission in Syria, stressing that this represents a ?pivotal moment? for the stabilization of the country.
?I urge all forces whether governmental, opposition or others to put down their weapons and work with the United Nations monitors to consolidate the fragile cessation of violence in all its forms,? Mr. Annan said in a statement issued yesterday, adding that the Government in particular must stop the use of heavy weapons and withdraw such weapons and armed units from population centres.
On Saturday, the Council authorized the establishment of a UN observer mission to the country (UNSMIS), comprising an initial deployment of up to 300 unarmed military observers for a period of 90 days, to monitor the cessation of violence, as well as support the full implementation of Mr. Annan?s six-point peace plan.
Mr. Annan?s plan calls for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, and the start of an inclusive political dialogue.
?The work of the mission should help create the conditions conducive to launching the much-needed political process, which would address the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the Syrian people,? Mr. Annan said.
?I call on the Government and the opposition and all the people of Syria to prepare to engage in such a process as a matter of utmost priority,? he added.
Mr. Annan is due to update the Council next week on the situation in the country.
On Saturday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Council?s unanimous adoption of resolution 2043, and called on the Syrian Government and other parties to immediately create the conditions necessary for the deployment of the mission.
The violence in Syria, which began in March last year as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 9,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands of people.