UN and Syria agree on observer protocol

Hillary Clinton warns situation ‘at a critical turning point’.

Syria and the UN have reached a preliminary deal on the deployment of observers for the country’s ceasefire, officials from both sides said, the BBC informs. A spokesman for peace envoy Kofi Annan said the agreement covered the observers’ functions and Syrian government’s responsibilities. It came after the UN secretary general said Syria was failing to comply with its peace plan obligations. The peace plan aims to end unrest which has killed at least 9,000 people. Annan’s spokesman stressed the importance of the latest deal, but also said there was still a long way to go. “The hard part lies ahead,” the statement said, in order to reach what it called “a truly Syrian-led and -owned political dialogue to address the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the Syrian people.”Earlier, in a letter to the UN Security Council, secretary general Ban Ki-moon called for the observer mission to be expanded from the small number already in the country to 300.There are continued reports of violence in Syria, threatening a ceasefire that began a week ago. However, Ban also said there was an “opportunity for progress”.Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the situation in Syria is “at a critical turning point.”  She spoke ahead yesterday “Friends of Syria” meeting in Paris, where she was expected to join Arab and European foreign ministers.“Either we succeed in pushing forward with Kofi Annan’s plan in accordance with the Security Council direction with the help of monitors, steadily broadening and deepening a zone of non-conflict and peace, or we see Assad squandering his last chance before additional measures have to be considered,” Clinton stated.

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