Observers dispatched to Syria

Updated: 2012-04-16 06:50

By Zhang Yuwei in New York and Wang Chenyan in Beijing (China Daily)

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Decision does not mean world has reached consensus, experts say

The UN Security Council on Saturday voted unanimously to dispatch a team of 30 monitors to Damascus, but experts said the decision does not mean the international community has reached a consensus on how to solve the crisis.

It was the first resolution that the 15-nation council has unanimously approved since the uprising in Syria began 13 months ago, resulting in the deaths of about 10,000 people. It emphasized that both the Syrian government and the opposition party must halt violence "in all its forms" and to implement UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan's "six-point peace plan".

The resolution does not mean the international community has reached a consensus on the Syrian issue, Ye Hailin, an international relations professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily.

"Though all Security Council members are united on the resolution, the positions of the parties do not change. They agreed on the deployment of military observers on their own premise," Ye said.

China and Russia, both permanent members of the council, joined the other 13 council members and voted in favor of Resolution 2042. The two nations twice vetoed resolutions on Syria in last October and in February, calling for dialogue to end the Syrian crisis instead of "regime change", which is what Western powers such as the United States, Britain and France have been seeking.

Both countries also said the previous resolutions were unbalanced and didn't address such issues as attacks by rebel groups.

"From the very beginning, what Beijing and Moscow have objected to all the time is the Libya-style solution to the Syrian crisis," Ye said.

Li Baodong, China's permanent representative to the UN, said after Saturday's vote that China always maintains "the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria as well as the choice, and the will of the Syrian people should be respected".

Li said the Syrian crisis should be resolved in "a just, peaceful and proper manner through political dialogue", urging all parties "to strictly honor their commitments to cease all acts of violence and create conditions for the launch of a Syria-led inclusive political process".

"What the relevant parties say and do about the Syrian issue should contribute to easing tensions, cessation of violence, launch of political dialogue, and maintenance of peace and stability in Syria and the Middle East, rather than the opposite," Li said.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia's permanent representative to the UN, said the new resolution is more balanced through extensive negotiations.

Also on Saturday, Ban Ki-moon met with Annan in Geneva, Switzerland, and discussed the status of the cessation of violence in Syria, including reports of sporadic violence and the continued presence of the Syrian Armed Forces in population centers.

Ban said they had discussed "next steps" and he will make sure the advanced observer mission will be dispatched soon and try to "make concrete proposals by Wednesday for an official observer mission".

"The diplomatic change will not end the unrest in Syria, but it's at least better than violence," Ye said.

On Friday, a Russian news agency reported that Moscow had decided to keep a warship stationed off the Syrian coast "on a permanent basis". And Western officials said they planned to return to the Security Council with a much stronger resolution, likely based on drafts previously rejected by Russia and China, which could include much tighter sanctions.

"The main focus at the moment is the ... rapid deployment of monitors," one Western official said on condition of anonymity.

"So now we should keep a close eye on how the UN team defines the violence in Syria," Ye said. "I think the unarmed military monitors can only inspect visible cease-fire. But what if the Syrian opposition choose the attack form of terrorism?"

Ye expressed serious concerns about recent bombings and other attacks targeting government troops.

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