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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syria, UN Agree on Terms of Ceasefire Monitoring

RIA Novosti

17:23 19/04/2012 MOSCOW, April 19 (RIA Novosti) - Syria and the United Nations have signed a preliminary deal on the deployment of observers to monitor a ceasefire between government and opposition forces, the BBC reported.

A spokesman for UN and Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan said the agreement covered the observers' functions and Syrian government's responsibilities, the report said.

Earlier on Thursday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Syria has failed to meet its obligations under Annan’s peace plan to withdraw troops and heavy weapons from residential areas. Violence has continued in Syria despite the declared truce, and "the cessation of armed violence in all its forms is therefore clearly incomplete,” he said in a report to the UN Security Council.

Ban also called for an expanded 300-strong observer mission to be deployed to Syria, saying there was an "opportunity for progress." Ban said he wanted monitors to be deployed to ten locations in the coming weeks.

An advance team of six observers has been working in Syria since Monday. Ban said the monitors enjoyed "freedom of movement" during their visit to the southern city of Deraa on Tuesday, but were barred from going to the restive city of Homs because of "security concerns."

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem vowed on Wednesday to "respect and implement" Annan’s peace plan, and said he agreed to the UN deploying 250 observers on the ground in Syria.

Meanwhile, the first Russian observer arrived in Syria on Thursday, with three others expected to join soon. The exact number of Russian observers to be sent to the violence-hit Arab country is yet to be determined.

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