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UN Council Ready to Deploy 300 Observers to Syria

United Nations Security Council members are in broad agreement to be ready to authorize the deployment of about 300 cease-fire observers to Syria in coming weeks even as they remain concerned about Syrian government violations of the week-old truce, according to two UN diplomats.

The council was briefed today by deputies to Kofi Annan, the UN special envoy who brokered a peace plan for Syria. They urged the UN’s decision-making body to give the go-ahead for an expanded monitoring mission while acknowledging risks on the ground from continued violence, according to the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the briefing wasn’t public.

Syria and the UN agreed today on a set of rules for unarmed monitors to be safe and able to move around the country safely, according to a UN statement. A small advance team is already in Syria.

The agreement doesn’t yet provide for air support, which is vital for the protection of the observers, the diplomats said. The Syrian government so far hasn’t raised objections about the nationalities of the observers, the diplomats said.

The Annan deputies who briefed the council were Jean-Marie Guehenno, former UN under secretary-general for peacekeeping at the UN, and Edmond Mulet, UN assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping.

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