The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted a resolution to endorse an international bid to end the nearly five-year-long crisis in Syria.
The resolution, adopted on Friday, calls for Syrian peace talks on a transitional government to begin in early January. It also calls for a nationwide ceasefire in the war-torn country.
According to the resolution, a “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian” government should be established in Syria within six months and UN-supervised “free and fair elections” should be held within 18 months.
The transition process should be Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, the text says, stressing that the “Syrian people will decide the future of Syria.”
The resolution also emphasizes that the truce “will not apply to offensive or defensive actions” against terrorist groups operating in the Arab country.
Speaking during the Security Council meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the resolution puts the future of Syria in the hands of its people.
“For this to work, the process has to be led and shaped and decided by the men and women of Syria,” Kerry said.
Furthermore, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the resolution “is a clear response to attempts to impose a solution from the outside on Syrians on any issues, including those regarding its President” Bashar al-Assad.
The resolution does not address the question of Assad’s future.
Lavrov also praised the text’s potential for creating a united front against terrorism.
“Today’s unanimous vote in the council should pave the way for the formation of a broad front against terrorism on the basis of the UN Charter,” the Russian foreign minister said.
Following the adoption of the resolution, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said negotiations on Syria’s future should include assurances that Assad will leave power.
“There must be safeguards regarding the exit of Bashar al-Assad,” Fabius told the UNSC session.
Also on Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an end to the miserable situation of Syrians, who “have suffered enough.”
“Tens of thousands of people in besieged areas have been forced to live on grass and weeds. This is outrageous,” Ban told the meeting.
During the meeting, Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said Damascus is prepared to participate in peace talks on Syria in good faith.
“I reiterate the readiness of the Syrian government to participate effectively in any sincere effort where the Syrians will determine their choices through dialog under Syrian leadership and not foreign intervention,” Jaafari said.
He also criticized the “glaring contradictions” between the talk about letting the Syrians decide their future and meddling in his country’s sovereignty by insisting on replacing President Assad.
Syria talks in New York
Meanwhile, senior diplomats from 17 countries, including Iran and Russia, are holding another round of talks over the Syrian conflict in New York.
They are aiming to arrange a ceasefire and launch peace negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition groups.
On Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said opening political talks among Syrian groups and implementing a UN-monitored truce are the two most important issues under discussion.
“Without peace talks, the ceasefire cannot be sustained. Without a ceasefire, peace talks cannot continue to produce results,” Wang said.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, whose country is tasked with finalizing the list of terrorist groups in Syria, said he had submitted lists given by each country of groups they consider terrorist organizations, adding that some countries “sent 10, 15, 20 names” and others more.
“Now I think there will be follow-up steps in terms of countries meeting again to set criteria which will help filter the list,” said Judeh.