UN adopts peace resolution on Syria; No word on Assad

RSTV Bureau
Ban ki moon UNSC Syria meet

New York :U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrives for a meeting of the International Syria Support Group at a hotel in New York, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. Nations meeting Friday in New York and the U.N. will essentially be negotiating a Russian plan for a “political transition,” based on the Syrian government’s consent and with no clear reference to President Bashar Assad’s departure. AP/PTI

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing a peace process in Syria. This has finally ended the five-year-long war through talks between the government and the opposition in Syria.

However at the Foreign Minister-level meeting at the UN, the fate and role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remained undecided as the draft was silent on the issue. It didn’t mention whether Assad would be able to run in the new elections.

In the first of its kind resolution that focuses on the politics of ending the brutal war, the 15-nation Council asked UN chief Ban Ki-moon to convene government and opposition representatives in formal talks next month. This will be a step to lasting peace in the political transition of the war-torn country, in line with the 2012 Geneva Communique.

The resolution called for a Syrian-led political process facilitated by the UN to establish within six months “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance.”

Not just that, a new constitution will be drafted and free and fair elections are to be held within 18 months under UN supervision with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to vote.

The resolution also said that the ceasefire will come into effect as soon as the sides have begun initial steps towards a political transition under UN observation.

“A clear message to all concerned that the time is now to stop the killing in Syria and lay the groundwork for a government that the long-suffering people of that battered land can support,” said John Kerry, the US Secretary of State who presided over the Council.

He also stressed that the US was determined to defeat the terror group ISIS with its coalition partners.

“The truth is that nothing would do more to bolster the fight against the terrorists than a broadly supported diplomatic process that gives the Syrian people a real choice; not a choice between President Bashar Assad or Daesh, but between war and peace, between the violent extremes and a newly empowered political center,” Kerry added.

“It’s our hope that a nationwide ceasefire can go into effect, excluding only Daesh and al-Nusrah and any other group that we might decide at some time to designate… That is why we have joined with so many of you in support of an urgent diplomatic initiative,” Kerry told the UNSC.

The resolution was adopted unanimously only after UN chief Ban briefed the UNSC on his meeting with the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) earlier in the day. The ISSG comprised of the Arab League, the European Union, the United Nations, and 17 other countries, including the US and Russia, which have been seeking a path forward for several months.

“As the first resolution to focus on the political path to resolving the crisis, this marks a very important step on which we must build,” Ban told the Council on Friday.

(With inputs from PTI)