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Today's Zaman

Turkey says not asked to provide troops for UN Syria mission

5 April 2012, Thursday /TODAYSZAMAN.COM
Turkey has said it has not been asked to contribute troops to a UN mission to monitor ceasefire between the Syrian army and opposition forces.

Turkey has said it has not been asked to contribute troops to a UN mission to monitor a cease-fire between the Syrian army and opposition forces.

“No troop request has been conveyed to Turkey as of yet,” Turkish Foreign Ministry sources were quoted as saying by the state-run Anatolia news agency.

The statement came after a spokesman for the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, said UN member states were being asked to provide troops for a cease-fire monitoring mission, to be deployed in Syria after April 10.

Spokesman Ahmad Fawzi also said an advance team sent by Annan was due to arrive in Damascus on Thursday to begin discussing their deployment, which requires a UN Security Council resolution.

A UN peacekeeping official, Norwegian Army former Chief of Staff Major-General Robert Mood, is due to head to Damascus to seek President Bashar al-Assad's agreement for UN observers. Reuters said the UN mission will consist of 250 unarmed observers.

During his visit to Syria, Mood was to examine prospects for UN observers to assess whether troops and insurgents respect the truce due to take effect by next Thursday under a peace plan drafted by Annan. Mood's previous experience includes armed UN peacekeeping operations in Kosovo where around 60,000 troops were deployed in 1999 after a cease-fire and army withdrawal agreement were already in place.

Annan's plan calls for Syrian troops to pull back from towns and cities ahead of a cease-fire with rebels under an “effective United Nations supervision mechanism.” An “inclusive, Syrian-led political process” would follow.     

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