United Nations: UN Security Council on Friday unanimously agreed to extend the UN monitoring mission in Syria for 30 days, agreeing to consider further extension only if the government and rebels there cease the use of heavy weapons and stop violence.

The 15 nation Council voted to adopt the British drafted resolution a day after permanent members Russia and China vetoed another resolution that would have threatened President Bashar Al Assad's regime with sanctions if Syrian authorities did not stop using heavy weapons and withdrew troops from towns and cities within 10 days.

The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) was established in April with an initial 90-day mandate, which expired on Friday.

The extension is for a final period of 30 days, "taking into consideration Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's recommendations to reconfigure the mission and taking into consideration the operational implications of the increasingly dangerous security situation in Syria."

The resolution states that the Council would only consider further extensions to the mission "in the event that the Secretary General reports and the Security Council confirms the cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction in the level of violence sufficient by all sides" to allow the UNSMIS  monitors to implement their mandate.

Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said "if over the next 30 days there is a change in that dynamic and those conditions are met then of course the Security Council, on a recommendation by the Secretary General, will look again at the future of UNSMIS."

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told reporters the 30 day extension would allow the UN mission to withdraw from the country "safely and orderly", with priority being given to ensuring the security of UN personnel.


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