(ANSAmed) - New York - The United Nations Security Council on Friday approved a 30 day extension for the mission of UN observers present in Syria. The unanimous vote of the 15 members of the UN Security Council came the day after Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution that would have sanctioned the Syrian government for brutal fighting to suppress insurgents.
Russia and China threatened to veto Friday's resolution as well.
In addition to extending the UN observer mission by one month, the resolution also allows its reconfiguration following the recommendations of the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. The extension of the mission, however, will only be acted on if Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council manage to persuade Syria's warring parties to cease the use of heavy arms and reduce violence enough to permit UN observers to do their work.
The 15 countries have requested all fighting parties in Syria - starting with the government in Damascus - to guarantee the security of UN observers, as well as free access and movement within the country.
"Ramadan will be a month of triumph over criminals and the completion of hopes for liberty, justice and dignity for our people," the Syrian opposition group Syrian National Council (SNC) announced in a greeting to Syrian Muslims Friday, the first day of Ramadan. The greeting also defies Syrian authorities, for whom Ramadan begins Saturday - as it does in Iran, an ally of the current regime. Iran proclaims Ramadan one day later than most Arab countries, but for the SNC, Ramadan begins Friday. "The SNC gives its best wishes to the great people of Syria for the sacred month of Ramadan, which begins today, according to the legal observation of the moon," the
On Monday, European Union countries' foreign ministries will give the go-ahead to a new round of sanctions against Syria, European sources familiar with the matter said Friday. The new measures will reinforce an existing arms embargo, giving EU member states the power to inspect "suspect" ships and planes in their own ports, airports and territorial waters while "respecting international laws". In addition, a new list of individuals and entities will be subject to an asset freeze and a visa ban. (ANSAmed).