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Govt forces, opposition must pave way to political settlement in Syria – UN mission chief

April 29, 2012, 20:39 UTC+3

The core of the UN ceasefire observation mission will start arriving in Syria on Monday

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BEIRUT, April 29 (Itar-Tass) —— Syrian governmental forces and the opposition must cease the hostilities and open way to a political settlement based on UN/LAS Envoy Kofi Annan’s plan, said Norwegian Gen. Robert Mood, who arrived in Damascus on Sunday to take command of UN observers in Syria.

The veteran peacekeeper, 54, has worked in the Middle East before. He was a part of the UN force in Lebanon in the late 1980s and supervised the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) – the oldest peacekeeping mission formed in 1948 after the first Arab-Israeli war – in 2009-2011.

The core of the UN ceasefire observation mission will start arriving in Syria on Monday. Up to 300 unarmed monitors will be deployed. The mission spokesman told the media in Damascus on Monday that it was important to ensure the soonest and full end of violence by all the parties to the conflict.

Mood said that the 300 UN officers would be unable to solve all the Syrian problems. Hence they expect all the conflicting sides to be cooperative for the sake of tranquility and normalization, which would meet the interests of the civilian population in the first turn, the general said.

Advanced teams of UN officers are already stationed in five Syrian districts, where anti-governmental unrest has occurred, - Homs, Hama, Deraa, Idlib and Damascus suburbs.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera said that the Syrian army had started an operation against the insurgents close to the Turkish border. The clashes with the militants, who have not laid down arms, are occurring by a strategic road, which connects the Syrian coastline to the economic capital of the country, Aleppo.

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