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U.S. ready to offer technical help to monitors in Syria: spokeswoman

(Xinhua)

08:49, January 10, 2012

WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The United States said on Monday that it stands ready to offer technical help to the Arab League monitors, as the regional bloc has offered to give enough time for them to fulfill their mission in trying to stop the violence in Syria.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland noted that the monitors had asked for technical help before they entered Syria in late December, and the United Nations as well as the European Union were providing some help.

"We're obviously supportive of any direct requests that come to us," she said at a regular news briefing. "You know, as I said, this is a first outing for them as international monitors. It's a very important and valuable capability for the Arab League to be developing."

"And we obviously stand by to help if that's wanted," she added.

At their meeting in Cairo on Sunday, the Arab League foreign ministers decided to continue the observer mission in Syria, despite criticism that the mission had so far failed to stop violence and bloodshed in the country.

The meeting also called on the Syrian government to "completely and immediately" implement the peace plan it signed with the regional group, which calls for ending of all acts of violence, withdrawal of armed elements from populated areas and the release of all political prisoners, in addition to allowing in monitors to conduct a field study of the situation in the Arab nation.

Syria was plunged into turmoil in mid-March when anti- government protests broke out.

The ministerial meeting asked for a report by Moustafa Mohammed Ahmed al-Dabi, a Sudanese serving as head of the observer mission, by Jan. 19.

"So we will await their final report and their assessment," Nuland said. "I think we are not going to give a report card to this mission until we see what the Arab League monitors' own report is."

"Our message to the opposition is to continue to do what they can to organize, to make their views known, to take advantage of those monitors who are there, to get their message out," she added.

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