Two U.N. Security Council resolutions were circulated on Friday to authorize the deployment to Syria of up to 300 more ceasefire observers.
The two resolutions -- one drafted by Russia while the other drafted jointly by France and the U.S. – are expected to be set for voting within the coming days.
Both texts, obtained by Al Arabiya, are broadly based on the U.N. resolution 2042 passed by the 15-member council last Saturday which approved the advanced monitoring mission of up to 30 observers. There are seven monitors already in Syria.
A new resolution is needed for a further “initial deployment” of up to 300 as recommended by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Some council members, however, have expressed reluctance to give swift approval for an expanded observer mission because of concern about the failure of the Syrian government to halt the violence, return troops to barracks and withdraw heavy weapons.
Both the Russian and French-American texts, obtained by Al Arabiya, authorize the deployment of 300 unarmed observers for an initial 90-days period and call upon Syria to implement its pledges under a six point plan by U.N.-Arab League mediator Kofi Annan.
The French-American draft underlined support to the Joint U.N.-Arab League Special Envoy, Kofi Annan, and his work. It condemned the human rights violations committed by the Syrian forces as well as the abuses committed by armed groups against civilians.
The draft reaffirmed “commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.” It stressed the importance that the Syrian government, as well as the Syrian opposition, should implement Annan’s six-point plan and abide by the ceasefire.
It also called for the establishment within 90 days “of a U.N. supervision mission in Syria (UNSMIS) to monitor a cessation of armed violence in all its forms” on the basis of the Preliminary Understanding signed on April 19.
According to the draft resolution, the UNSMIS will comprise an initial deployment of up to 300 U.N. observers supported by a limited and appropriate substantive civilian component to be agreed in consultations with the Syrian government and the Security Council.
The draft called on the Syrian government to ensure the effective operation of UNSMIS through “facilitating the expeditious and unhindered deployment of its personnel and capabilities” and ensuring the “immediate freedom of movement and access as necessary to fulfill its mandate and privately communicate with individuals throughout Syria.”
The draft called on the Secretary-General to report immediately to the Security Council any obstructions to the effective operation of UNSMIS by any party.
It reiterated the call for the Syrian authorities to allow “immediate, full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance, in accordance with international law.”
The French-American text “underlines the need for the Syrian government to agree rapidly with the U.N. the independent use of air assets” by the observer mission, according to Reuters.
The Russian draft resolution, however, makes no mention of air assets and is a little less critical of Damascus than the French-American text.
Syria has dismissed any need for U.N. aircraft, though U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said helicopters and other military hardware would be necessary and that would be discussed more closely with Syrian authorities.
The 15-member Security Council has been divided between Western countries that want to topple Assad and Russia and China, which support him and have twice vetoed council resolutions condemning Assad.
But on Saturday Russia and China joined the rest of the council in voting for a resolution to authorize the deployment of the first batch of U.N. monitors.
It is unusual for Russia to draft a Security Council text. A Russian spokesman told AFP said there were “discussions” on registering the text which could mean a vote as early as this weekend. Western diplomats said a vote was more likely next week however.
In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday: “We should do everything we can to adopt, as soon as possible, a second resolution that will approve a full-scale observer mission.”
The United States has voiced concern over approving an expanded monitoring mission before the Assad government fully complies with demands to halt the violence and pull back troops and heavy weapons.
“We want to see monitors be able to get in. But they've got to be able to do so in the permissive conditions,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Friday, saying the United States had “extreme concerns” about the continued violence.
Russia and China have vetoed two council resolutions which condemned Annan and fiercely oppose U.N. sanctions.
The U.N. says that well over 9,000 people have been killed in the uprising against Assad which started in March last year.
(Compiled with Agencies)