Clinton warns Syria over monitors

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Clinton warns Syria over monitors

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced outrage over charges that Syrian authorities attacked citizens who cooperated with UN monitors, saying the harassment could scuttle a peace plan.

By (AFP)

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Published: Wed 25 Apr 2012, 11:28 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:53 PM

A Syrian rights group said that nine activists were summarily executed in the flashpoint city of Hama, a day after meeting with UN observers sent as part of a peace plan brokered by former UN chief Kofi Annan.

“It is absolutely deplorable if there is this kind of intimidation, harassment and possible violence against those Syrians who have every right to meet with and discuss the situation with the monitors. That’s what the monitors are there for,” Clinton said.

“We would like to see Kofi Annan’s plan succeed. It clearly cannot succeed unless all Syrians are permitted to take advantage of the presence of the UN monitors as they begin their mission,” she told a joint press conference with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

Annan warned of an “unacceptable” level of violence despite the ceasefire, as he urged the UN mission to rapidly send another 300 unarmed monitors. A total of 11 are now in Syria out of a planned initial deployment of 30.

The United States has said that it may reject an extension of the monitoring mission beyond its initial three months if it believes that Assad is using the pretext of the ceasefire to keep up violence against the opposition.

Clinton demanded that Assad carry out all parts of the peace plan, including giving unimpeded access to the monitors, who were sent after more than a year of violence that has left more than 9,000 people dead.

“The international community will continue to pressure Assad and his regime as long as they insist on slaughtering their own people and denying a political transition,” Clinton said, pointing to new US sanctions ordered Monday on Syria and Iran over electronic surveillance of their citizens.

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