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article imageBan Ki-moon: UN mission in Syria should be reduced and refocused

By Paul Iddon     Jul 6, 2012 in Politics
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has stated that the UN observer mission in Syria should be reduced in size and refocused for political mediation.
Reports from Al Jazeera and BBC News quote Mr. Ban as suggesting -- in a report to the Security Council -- that the current observer mission in Syria be scaled down rather than fully withdrawn. His aim is to show the international community that the UN is not abandoning Syria.
The United Nations observer force in Syria has been in a state of suspension for weeks now, due to the continued violence in the country as a result of the abject failure of every proposed ceasefire -- the most notable being the one that was supposed to have been put in place with international mediation and oversight last April.
There are currently 300 unarmed observers in Syria, their mandate to be there expires in a fortnights time. Mr. Ban wants to reduce this force and essentially reassign it to Damascus where it will take the role as some kind of a political mediator.
In light of the failure of the warring sides in Syria to adhere to the criteria of Mr. Annan's six-point peace plan the formation of a transitional government in Damascus has been agreed upon by key UN powers in Geneva last week.
Mr. Ban's suggestions seem to be one of figuring out how the U.N. observer mission on the ground in Syria can be utilized to play a role in overseeing the internationally mediated formation of such a transitional government in Syria. The main aim of the mission is to alleviate further bloodshed in the war ravaged country.
The death toll of the 16-month-old uprising is now estimated to be around 15,800.
More about ban kimoon, United Nations, Syria