NEW YORK/ROME, (SANA) – Leader of the UN observer mission in Syria, Norwegian General Robert Mood, said on Friday that all sides in Syria and outside it must exert all possible efforts to realize the Syrian people's aspirations through a peaceful process.
Mood told the United Nations Radio that there's an "abyss of doubt supported by violence which creates more violence," and that overcoming this requires unified efforts in which the observer mission is a small part.
He said that these efforts include commitment by the government and the armed opposition, actions by countries neighboring Syria and the Security Council, and supporting Kofi Annan's mission and political track, adding that these efforts must involve the entire international community.
Mood said that the current situation on the ground is very quiet, and that there are 157 military and civilian members of the delegation who are deployed in Damascus, Homs, Hama, Idleb, Daraa and Aleppo, adding that the military observers come from 27 countries, while the team members in general come from 48 countries.
He said that the observers are received well in all areas and are treated with hospitality by the Syrians, expecting the mission to reach its full numbers within two weeks.
Mood noted that this is still the first stage of the mission's work, with equipment and cars still being transported by air and sea, adding that the second challenge is a political one as the team needs to make progress on all tracks, and that there must be confidence that there's movement in a positive direction, and that all involved sides inside and outside Syria can move in the same direction.
He said that the third challenge is the existence of risks and restrictions on what the mission can do, which is why it must operate in a gradual manner.
Mood concluded by telling the Syrian people that the international community is "on the ground with them and seeing their suffering" and that they will do their best to be part of the process and allow them to achieve their aspirations peacefully, adding "because the alternative is something I don't want to think about."
On a relevant note, Italy announced that five observers will head to Syria by the middle of May to join the observer mission.
Chief of Italian Air Force General Staff, Admiral Cristiano Bettini, said that Italy placed 17 observers at the disposal of the UN, and that five of them will head to Syria after they receive approval from the parliament to the decision issued by the Italian Cabinet on May 8th to send 15 observers to the join the UN observer mission.