UN Security Council Unanimously Adopts Syrian Roadmap Resolution

SUNThe UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire and political settlement in Syria. The resolution envisions the formation of a unity government and calls for an immediate halt to any attacks on civilian targets.

Earlier, agencies leaked the draft of the document agreed by the UNSC permanent members right ahead of the session.

The four-page draft demanded that all parties to the Syrian conflict “immediately cease any attacks against civilians,” Reuters reported. A mechanism to monitor, verify and report the truce is to be worked out within a month.

The draft resolution would also ask the UN to convene formal talks on a transitional government. The talks between the regime and opposition are targeted for early January.

The Syrian people will decide the future of Syria,” says the draft.

Foreign ministers from 18 countries as well as the UN and Arab League representatives gathered in New York Friday to push the Syria roadmap. The group has already met twice in Vienna in the last six weeks and drafted a road map for the Syrian conflict reconciliation.

Apart from the UN and the Arab League, the group includes Russia, the US, the EU, the UK, Germany, France, China, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Qatar, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

During the conference preceding the UN Security Council meeting, new calls for Bashar Assad to step down were voiced, arguing that the Syrian President’s exit would facilitate the battle with terrorism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

We confirmed our position that – as the UNSC has repeatedly stressed – there can be no pre-conditions to fight terrorism,” Lavrov said, adding that such calls did not make it into the draft. He once again said it is up to the Syrian people to determine the future of their country and its current leader.

“Only the Syrian people are to decide on their future, including the fate of President Assad – this is an answer, included into the resolution, to attempts to enforce outside will on the Syrians,” Lavrov said.

The conflict in Syria has lasted for more than four years with more than 300,000 killed.

Another goal of the talks was to work out a mechanism for establishing which rebel groups in Syria will be eligible to take part in the peace process. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front would be exempt from the truce.

For this purpose, Jordan, who was tasked with listing terrorist organizations in Syria, presented a document that includes 160 extremist groups, RIA Novosti reported, citing sources in the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“The list reflects positions of different sides,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judah, who presented the document during the ISSG talks in New York, also said, according to TASS.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution submitted jointly by Russian and the US which allows punishing individuals or companies involved in trade with Islamic State or other terror groups.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov as well as with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Russia and the US managed to reach an agreement on some “critical” issues concerning Syria in particular. Kerry said that the positions of the US and Russia on Syria are “fundamentally very similar” and expressed readiness to further cooperation. -rt

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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