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France favors more UN monitors for Syria
French push envelope on Syria by urging more monitors as Assad's regime draws line
By The Associated Press

PARIS (AP) ' France believes an effective force of international observers for Syria would need 300 to 400 observers equipped with "some robust munitions" to help end months of bloodshed in the country.

President Bashar Assad's regime says it will accept no more than 250, while the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon have asked for 300 observers to be sent in.

The call from French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe came as France was preparing to host Thursday about a dozen top diplomats from the so-called "Friends of Syria" to look for ways of helping special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan.



Meanwhile, in Geneva, Annan said Syria's government and the United Nations have agreed on rules governing the U.N.'s advance team of truce monitors.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

GENEVA (AP) ' International envoy Kofi Annan says Syria and the United Nations have reached an agreement on the rules governing the U.N.'s advance team of truce monitors.

Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi says the agreement covers how the team of up to 30 observers will "monitor and support a cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties" and implement Annan's six-point peace plan.

Fawzi said in a statement the agreement negotiated Thursday outlines the observers' functions and the "tasks and responsibilities" of the Syrian government.

He says Annan also is having "similar discussions" with opposition figures to reach agreement on "the tasks and responsibilities of armed opposition groups."

A small U.N. advance team is in Syria trying to salvage a week-old cease-fire.


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