Syrian Transition Plan Unveiled

aqqThe agreement that Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S President Barack Obama made on Sunday at the G20 Summit in Turkey for a UN sponsored Syrian led transition plan is based on a negotiated deal that was already worked out a day earlier in Vienna between diplomats from nearly 20 countries, including Russia and the United States,  aimed at bringing peace to war torn Syria.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said from Vienna on Saturday that the impact of the Syrian civil war is being felt across the globe.

“This crisis is not Syria’s alone to bear. The impacts of this war bleed into all of our nations: from the flood of desperate migrants seeking refuge within the region or in Europe or beyond; to the foreign terrorist fighters making their way into Syria to join the ranks of groups like Daesh; to self-radicalized fighters, living among us, their minds poisoned by Daesh’s propaganda and lies” Kerry said at press conference along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Staffan de Mistura, a UN envoy for Syria.

The negotiated deal from Vienna on Saturday is based on the steps outlined in the 2012 Geneva communique from June 30, 2012 that can be found here and presents the best path forward towards an actual political transition.

Diplomats agreed to reconvene to review the progress by December 14th.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the leaders in Vienna agreed on the need to begin formal negotiations between representatives of the Syrian opposition and the Syrian regime, under UN auspices, with a target date of the two sides actually sitting down and negotiating a target date of around January 1st.

A cease fire should be in place within 6 months between the Syrian government and opposition groups.

Islamic State, along with the al Nusra Front, an offshoot of al-Qaeda, was placed on a list of those subject to military strikes even when a cease-fire is in place.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Jordan will oversee a process that identifies which groups should be considered for identification as terrorists.

Lavrov explained that Staffan de Mistura, a UN envoy for Syria will start to determine who should sit at the negotiating table on behalf of the opposition team.

The Syrian government has already informed Mr. de Mistura on the composition of their delegation team.

Lavrov said that within six months the Syrian delegations should decide on the joint opposition, the so-called unity government. And then the Syrian people should decide on the – a new constitution, and according to this new constitution the elections will take place, and all this within 18 months or by May 14, 2017.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

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