21 Jul 2012

UN observer mission to Syria extended

7:08 am on 21 July 2012

The United Nations Security Council has agreed to extend its observer mission in Syria for 30 days.

The unamimous vote came after hours of intense negotiations among council members on the the mandate of the mission which expired on Friday.

Russia had threatened to veto the UK-drafted resolution, but Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin finally backed a revised text.

The mandate could be renewed after the 30 day extension, but only if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council are able to confirm that both sides are abiding by the terms of the UN-backed ceasefire plan.

The mission, involving almost 300 observers, was meant to monitor a ceasefire there but most of its activities were suspended last month as the violence escalated.