Russia's Foreign Ministry: UN observers must negotiate cease-fire with conflicting forces in Syria

Russia has included in its draft resolution of the United Nations Security Council an idea of instructing the UN observers to agree with the government and opposition upon a specific plan for a cease-fire and withdrawal of forces from each populated area.

"Only a simultaneous cease-fire is possible, which must be followed by a simultaneous withdrawal of forces, both governmental ones and the opposition's fighting squads, from all populated areas. We believe that for this purpose UN observers should be instructed to negotiate with the sides a concrete plan on every populated area where an armed standoff is taking place," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference in Moscow.

 Lavrov expects that Western nations will not block the UN Security Council resolution on Syria proposed by Russia because it would result in the termination of the operation of UN observers in that country.

"If our partners decide to block our resolution at any cost, the UN mission will not have a mandate and will have to leave Syria. That would be lamentable," he said at a Monday press conference in Moscow.

"I hope that our Western colleagues did not initially have such an intention of creating conditions for the curtailment of the mission," Lavrov added.

Russia is ready to agree to a technical extension of the United Nations Monitoring Mission in Syria, whose mandate is expiring on July 20.

"After all, we are ready for the so-called technical extension [of the UN Monitoring Mission in Syria] as well," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference in Moscow.

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