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Impartiality key to U.N. mission in Syria: India

“Hope Syrian Opposition too will adhere to Kofi Annan Plan”

While voting with all other United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members in favour of a U.N. team monitoring the ceasefire between the government and rebels in Syria, India underlined the importance of the mission observing the principles of integrity by being impartial and independent.

Explaining India's stand before the UNSC, senior diplomat Hardeep Puri said it was important that the U.N. mission carried out its work “impartially, fairly and independently” with “due respect for Syria's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.”

Indian diplomats here believe that the previous monitoring mission was not seen by Damascus as impartial and asked to leave. Third world countries, India in particular, did not take kindly to the Arab League prescribing elections in a fixed time frame and demanding unlimited freedom of movement for several categories of people such as Arab League observers, the international media and humanitarian organisations.

The Indian explanation of vote on the Syrian resolution put complete faith in the former U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan's initiative, with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna calling him up before the vote and underscoring New Delhi's support for his mission.

Compared to previous occasions when expectations and condemnations were balanced, India welcomed the Syrian government adhering to the Kofi Annan peace plan but felt the Opposition was yet to demonstrate its ability to negotiate. “We have noted the commitment of the Government of Syria to such a process. We expect that the Opposition will also engage seriously in this process,” observed Mr. Puri.

A few sentences later, the Indian diplomat reiterated this formulation — he welcomed Syria's commitment to the Kofi Annan plan and expected that the Syrian Opposition “too will adhere to the relevant parts of this plan, renounce violence and cooperate fully with Mr. Annan.”

At the same time, India again called on the government to start an “inclusive” political process, utilising the ceasefire, for resolving the crises that began over a year ago.

India called on all countries in Syria's neighbourhood and beyond to support the Kofi Annan-led initiative for political resolution of the Syrian crisis.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 10:21:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/impartiality-key-to-un-mission-in-syria-india/article3315472.ece

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