The United Nations and the League of Arab States are considering sending a joint observer mission to Syria in a renewed effort to stop violence in the Middle East country shaken by a political crisis, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
Ban told reporters on Wednesday after a closed-door UN Security Council session that Nabil al-Araby, Secretary-General of the Arab League, intended to send the Arab League observer mission back to Syria and asked for UN help.
“He further suggested that we consider a joint observer mission in Syria, including a joint special envoy,” the UN chief said.
“We stand ready to assist in any way that will contribute towards improvement on the ground and to the overall situation,” he added.
The Arab League announced in January the suspension of its observer mission, which has been working in Syria since late December 2011, over what it described as a serious worsening of the security situation in Syria.
At least 5,400 people have been killed in the government's 10-month crackdown on protesters, according to the UN. Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with al-Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.
Ban sharply criticized Russia and China for blocking on Saturday a draft UN resolution, which backed an Arab League peace plan to resolve the crisis.
The failure to agree on collective action against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime “has encouraged the Syrian Government to step up its war on its own people,” he said.
The West has been trying to persuade Moscow to support the resolution effectively authorizing a military operation but Russia has repeatedly insisted that the Western drive for a stronger crackdown on Syria is preparation for a “Libyan scenario.” An earlier resolution drafted by Russia has been rejected by the West as "too soft."
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia condemns the ongoing violence in Syria but is against outside interference, while President Dmitry Medvedev called on members of international community “to avoid any hasty unilateral steps.”