End to Syrian violence needs genuine will from both sides: observer chief

xinhuanet.com 19-May-2012

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 •  Mood stressed no volume of observers can rein in Syrian violence without a genuine will from both sides.
•  The ongoing violence has undermined the work of the UN observers.
•  Syria also blamed the recent violence and bombings in its cities on al-Qaida fighters.

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Robert Mood, the head of the UN observer team, speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria on May 18, 2012. Robert Mood said Friday that close to 216 unarmed military observers have been deployed on ground in several restive Syrian cities, however, stressing that no volume of observers can rein in the violence in Syria without a genuine will from both sides of the conflict. (Xinhua/Hazim)


DAMASCUS, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Head of UN observers in Syria said Friday that close to 216 unarmed military observers have been deployed on ground in several restive Syrian cities, however, stressing that no volume of observers can rein in the violence in Syria without a genuine will from both sides of the conflict.

"No volume of observers can achieve a permanent end to the violence if the commitment to give dialogue a chance is not genuine from all internal and external actors," Maj-Gen Robert Mood told reporters during a press conference Friday morning.

Mood made it clear that "no amount of violence can resolve this (Syrian) crisis," noting that his mission cannot put both sides on the dialogue table unless the ongoing violence is reduced or stopped.

Six observers evacuated on Wednesday from Syria's northern town of Khan Sheikhoun controlled by the opposition, a day after a roadside bomb hit their convoy there. None of the observers was wounded, and it was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.

The ongoing violence has undermined the work of the UN observers, who began to arrive in Syria last month to monitor the cease-fire brokered by the UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian team leader underscored his seriousness and commitment to helping the Syrian people "to regain hopes to return to normality."

"The aspiration of the Syrian people for reduction of violence on a political track is something we share ... that is our goal. But we need all stakeholders inside and outside Syria to show more courage to refrain from violence."

He also lauded the "advanced level" of cooperation from the Syrian government with his mission and the "unrelenting support" from the UN.

Asked about reports of the existence of al-Qaida fighters on Syrian soil, Mood said that "If they are correct, it is a worrying development."

UN chief Ban Ki-moon believed that al-Qaida was behind recent twin bombings that struck an intelligence complex in the capital Damascus that left at least 55 people killed and 370 others injured.

"A few days ago there was a huge, serious, massive terrorist attack. I believe that there must be Al-Qaida behind it. This has created again very serious problems," Ban said.

Syria also blamed the recent violence and bombings in its cities on al-Qaida fighters. The Syrian permanent representative to the UN, Bashar Ja'afari, has recently released a list of 26 alleged foreign terrorists he claims his country has rounded up recently.

He said that 20 of them are Arabs who have confessed working on the behest of al-Qaida, adding that the list also includes French and British citizens.

Syria's state-TV has recently televised confessions by Tunisians of infiltrating into Syria to join "Jihad" against the administration of President Bashar al-Assad.


 

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Robert Mood, the head of the UN observer team, speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria on May 18, 2012. Robert Mood said Friday that close to 216 unarmed military observers have been deployed on ground in several restive Syrian cities, however, stressing that no volume of observers can rein in the violence in Syria without a genuine will from both sides of the conflict. (Xinhua/Hazim)