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Protocol on UN mission being drafted: Syrian media

Syrian state media reports that Assad regime is drafting a protocol that outlining the UN observer mission to Syria in consultation with a team of experts from the UN

AFP , Wednesday 18 Apr 2012
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A protocol outlining the UN observer mission to Syria to oversee a fragile ceasefire is currently being drafted and should be ready within days, a pro-regime newspaper reported Wednesday.

Al-Watan said that an advance team of UN observers held talks on Tuesday with foreign ministry officials concerning the protocol which should be finalised in coming days.

The newspaper said the protocol would pave the way for up to 250 UN observers to arrive in the country as part of efforts to end 13 months of violence that the United Nations says has left more than 9,000 people dead.

Members of the advance team on Tuesday visited the southern province of Daraa, cradle of the uprising against Bashar al-Assad's regime, and met its governor, the newspaper said.

The observers were seen heading out of their hotel in Damascus on board two vehicles early Wednesday but it was unclear where they were headed.

"We do not make comments about our mission," said team leader Colonel Ahmed Himmiche.

"There are seven of us and our numbers will increase today or tomorrow until we reach 30," he said.

UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan wants the mission's numbers to swell to more than 250, but the UN Security Council resolution adopted last Saturday approves only the initial 30.

Security Council diplomats have said that reinforcement will depend on compliance with the ceasefire that went into force last Thursday.

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