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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

U.S. Not Planning to Send Monitors to Syria

RIA Novosti

02:42 28/04/2012

WASHINGTON, April 28 (RIA Novosti) - The United States has no plans to send its monitors to Syria as part of a UN-backed peace plan to end the 14-month conflict there, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

“We are not planning to have American monitors,” Nuland told journalists during a daily press briefing in Washington, adding “we are obviously supporting this mission financially and we’re prepared to support it logistically as we evaluate its needs.”

The UN Security Council has approved the dispatch of 300 observers to Syria to monitor a ceasefire between government and opposition forces as part of the peace plan proposed by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. An advance team of eight observers has already been working in Syria.

The mission has been approved for an initial period of 90 days.

Damascus has insisted that the members of the monitoring force come from countries friendly to Syria, such as Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa.

The advance monitoring team is headed by a Moroccan colonel. It involves one Russian officer, and another three Russians are expected to join the mission.

Despite the presence of the monitors, there have been reports of numerous violations of the truce by both opposition and government forces, in which dozens of people were killed.

Nuland said it was embattled President Bashar al-Assad who was to blame for continued violence.

“Well, obviously, we can all see that it is the Assad regime that is failing to meet its obligations under the six-point [Annan] plan,” she said, adding “if we have failure – complete failure – of the plan that we all endorsed… then we’re going to have to go back to New York” and push for international sanctions for be imposed on Syria by the UN Security Council.

Russia and China have spoken out strongly against sanctions to be imposed on Syria. Moscow and Beijing have vetoed two UN resolutions condemning the Syrian regime for the bloodshed, citing pro-rebel bias, but gave their full backing to Annan’s plan.

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