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Syrian opposition group warns: If the UN won't act, 'we have other options'

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Western powers are demanding that any extension of the monitoring mission fall under a UN Charter provision – the charter’s Chapter 7 – that authorizes consequences for noncompliance that could run from economic sanctions to, eventually, the use of force. Russia, which has already vetoed two resolutions on Syria over the course of the crisis, says it wants only a reauthorization of the 300-member mission charged with monitoring the “cease-fire” that was supposed to have taken effect under international Syria envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan.

The monitoring mission’s mandate expires Friday. But by Tuesday afternoon and as intensive negotiations continued, it appeared a vote on a Syria resolution set for Wednesday would lapse until at least Thursday.

Speaking Tuesday afternoon with a group of journalists, Dr. Kodmani said her organization supports a resolution under Chapter 7 as a “very last chance to breathe life into the Annan peace plan.” She also said it is the only way for the Security Council to convince the Assad regime that the international community is serious about halting violence that has left more than 17,000 Syrians dead – more than 4,000 of those since Mr. Annan’s plan for a cease-fire and a political transition was launched effect in April.

The Syrian delegation members say they relayed the same message to the Russian officials they met in New York this week and to those, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, they met with in Moscow last week: a failure to include “enforcement measures” in a Syria resolution would send a message of a weak UN unable to manage international security crises.

Another Russian veto of a Syria resolution would “send the wrong message back to both the regime and the Syrian people,” Kodmani said they told their Russian interlocutors. The Assad regime would hear that it is “free to continue the violence, continue the massacres,” she said, while the Syrian people would hear the international community saying, “We cannot do anything for you, you will have to fight [this] out.”

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