The United Nations has approved 10 Danish observers as part of its mission to Syria to monitor the UN ceasefire there, according to the Danish Foreign Ministry.
“The United Nations has informed us that 10 Danish observers will be part of the mission,” Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal says in a statement.
“We were quick to offer the United Nations observers, demonstrating that we are prepared to put actions behind words,” he adds.
The observers are expected to be despatched to Syria on Thursday and join about 70 observers already there.
The announcement came shortly after reports that an explosion hit a Syrian army truck that was escorting some of the UN observers who are currently in Syria. None of the UN observers were hurt in the explosion, although three Syrian soldiers were said to have been wounded.
AFP reported the head of the UN observer team, Maj. Gen. Robert Mood – who was in the convoy – as saying that the observers would continue their task.
“This is a graphic example of violence that Syrians do not need. It is essential to halt the violence in all its forms," AFP quoted Mood’s spokesman as saying at a Deraa news conference.
The explosion came only a few hours after UN Envoy and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that the monitoring mission seemed the last chance to avoid a civil war in Syria.
“The UN supervision mission is possibly the only remaining chance to stabilise the country,” Annan said. “There is a profound concern that the country could otherwise descend into full civil war. And the implications of that are quite frightening. We cannot allow that to happen,” he said following a closed meeting of the UN Security Council, with Annan on a video link from Geneva.
The Observer mission to Syria is expected to have 300 members by the end of May, and will monitor observance of Annan’s six-point plan.
The plan includes a monitored stop to all violence by all parties, a daily 2-hour humanitarian pause to allow humanitarian aid into needy areas, freedom of movement for journalists and observance of the right to demonstrate.
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Edited by Julian Isherwood