Turkey welcomes UN resolution on Syria observers

Turkish ambassador to the United Nations, Ertuğrul Apakan, speaks to the media after a Security Council meeting at in New York on April 14, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

April 15, 2012, Sunday/ 14:00:00

Turkey welcomed on Sunday a resolution passed in the UN Security Council to send unarmed observers to Syria as a step in the right direction, even though it falls short of fully meeting Ankara's expectations.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday in favor of a resolution to dispatch a team of 30 monitors to Syria to shore up a brittle cease-fire as escalating fighting between regime and opposition forces threatened the truce at the heart of special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.

The resolution gave the 15-nation Security Council its first united front since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began 13 months ago, with Russia and China, which shielded the Assad regime from Security Council condemnation in the past, also voting in favor of it.

Emphasizing that both sides must halt the violence that has killed more than 9,000, the council called on Syria to pull soldiers and heavy weapons out of towns and cities -- a truce provision Assad's regime has ignored. It also demanded urgent compliance with Annan's six-point plan intended to lead to talks between the regime and the opposition on Syria's political future.

Turkey, which insists Assad must leave power, had earlier criticized the UN Security Council for inaction over violence in Syria.

In a statement released on Sunday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the endorsement of the dispatch of observers in the resolution is a “necessary but insufficient step” in the direction of determining Assad regime's compliance with the Annan plan.

It said the Syrian regime continues to use force against anti-regime protesters despite its promises to withdraw troops and heavy weaponry from populated areas. “Turkey expects all the calls and demands made to the Syrian regime in the UN Security Council resolution to be implemented fully and immediately,” the statement said.

In New York, Turkey's ambassador to the United Nations, Ertuğrul Apakan, also said the resolution was “a first step” in the right direction and emphasized that the chief responsibility in bringing about an end to violence lies with the Syrian administration. Apakan added that Turkey supported Annan's efforts and wanted to see his six-point plan implemented fully.

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