France urges Arab league to strengthen Syria mission

France on Thursday urged the Arab League to strengthen its monitoring mission in Syria amid concerns its observers have failed to stem bloodletting in the country.

The French Foreign Ministry's deputy spokesperson, Romain Nadal, also called on the Arab grouping to accept help in organizing the mission, in particular from the United Nations.

"Given the risks of manipulation and concealment, all contributions to strengthen the effectiveness of the observers' work in Syria are useful, particularly those of the United Nations," Nadal said.

"We encourage the Arab League to use all means possible to strengthen this mission so that observers can move independently throughout Syrian territory and have all necessary contact with Syrian civil society," he added.

The Arab League has turned to the UN for help after admitting "mistakes" in its Syria monitoring mission.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, who heads an Arab League task force on Syria, on Wednesday discussed obtaining "technical help" for the mission with UN leader Ban Ki-moon in New York, Kuwait's KUNA news agency reported.

He also admitted "some mistakes" had been made by the mission.

Syrian opposition groups say the monitors have been kept under too tight a rein in the country and that hundreds of people have been killed despite the presence of the observers.

The observers have been in Syria since December 26 trying to assess the regime's implementation of a peace agreement aimed at ending the violence that according to UN estimates has killed more than 5,000 people since March.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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