Syria Signs Deal Allowing Observers

Posted December 19th, 2011 at 7:40 am (UTC-5)
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Syria has signed an Arab League plan to allow observers into the country to verify whether the government is honoring its pledge to stop security forces from attacking anti-government protesters.

The signing Monday in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, follows nine months of violence that the United Nations estimates has killed at least 5,000 people.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership and imposed diplomatic and economic sanctions on Damascus last month to pressure it into accepting the peace initiative. Syria had demanded changes to the plan, saying the proposed observer mission would violate its sovereignty.

Also Monday, China said it supports a new draft U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the violence in Syria.

The proposal introduced by Russia last week condemns violence by all parties, but stops short of calling for sanctions.

Western powers welcomed Russia's proposal, but said it is not strong enough. Both Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution in October that contained possible references to sanctions.