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UN extends mission of 300 observers in Syria

UN extends mission of 300 observers in Syria

United Nations: The UN Security Council Friday extended by 30 days the mandates of 300 international observers in Syria, with the possibility of further extension.

The resolution, drafted by Britain, was approved unanimously by the council's 15 member states.

Russia initially said it would veto the resolution, but supported it after the text was amended. Moscow currently sees the resolution as "balanced", said Vitaly Churkin, Russia's permanent envoy to the UN.

"This resolution makes a call to reduce violence. It is directed at both sides," Churkin said, adding that this "key amendment" was made on request from Russia and China.

The monitoring mission of about 300 UN observers expires Saturday, July 21.

The Security Council, however, might end the mission if the Syrian government fails to enhance security and tone down violence in the country.

On Thursday, Russia withdrew its draft resolution on Syria, which backed UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan' six-point peace plan and, together with China, vetoed a Western-backed draft over fears that it could lead to foreign military intervention in the violence-wracked Middle Eastern country.


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