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Russia urges UN observers to stay in Syria

(Xinhua)

08:16, August 16, 2012

MOSCOW, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Moscow believed the UN observers in Syria should continue their work there, as a withdrawal of the mission would cause "extremely negative consequences," the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

The format of the mission could be changed, but it shouldn't be fully curtailed, as the UN presence in Syria served as an important source of first-hand information in the conflict-torn country, the ministry's information department told the Interfax news agency.

"We support an extension of the UN observer mission's mandate in Syria. Its format may be modified to fit the current situation in the country," said the ministry.

The UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) was extended for a final 30-day mandate in July. Shrinking the 300-observer mission into half was part of the extended mandate.

The UN Security Council will held consultations this week on the mission's extension, which is due to expire again on Aug. 20.

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