NEWS

UN gets briefed today on Annan's Syria trip

03/16/2012 10:42 EDT | Updated 05/16/2012 05:12 EDT

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan will brief the UN Security Council today on his peace mission to Syria, considered a crucial step for the U.S. and its European allies to pass a resolution aimed at ending the violence.

But it's unclear whether Russia and China will support any action by the Security Council. Last month, the two countries vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

Paul Heinbecker, former Canadian ambassador to the UN, told CBC News the international community sees Annan's mission as crucial, but that's about all members of the deeply divided Security Council can agree on, because Annan's mandate in Syria was so broad.

In two meetings with Assad in Damascus last weekend, Annan tried to negotiate an end to the violence and kick-start a political dialogue between the opposition and the government. Annan also hoped to secure humanitarian access for Syrians trapped in districts under fire from security forces aiming to crush the year-long uprising.

Team to discuss international monitors

On Friday, a spokesman for Annan said the envoy is sending a team to the Syrian capital early next week to discuss a proposal to deploy international monitors there.

"He is sending a team, a technical mission, to Damascus early next week to discuss details of this mechanism and how to implement other elements of the proposals," Ahmad Fawzi told Reuters.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday condemned the “brutal repression” in Syria in the regime's military crackdown.

"As intense fighting continues in Syria, and people are caught up in the violence, it is increasingly vital that humanitarian organizations have unhindered access to identify urgent needs and provide emergency care and basic supplies," Ban said.

He said "well over" 8,000 people have died in the violence.

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