On Friday the U.N. Security Council gave the United Nations an enhanced role in bringing together the opposing sides of a 5 year Syrian civil war that aims to establish a political transition with a roadmap for a ceasefire, a new constitution, and elections all under the watch of the U.N.
Since 2011 the Syrian civil war has claimed the lives of over 250,000 Syrians, fueled Islamic extremism, and displaced millions across Syria’s borders.
The Security Council asked U.N Secretary General Ban Ki moon to convene Syrian government and opposition representatives in formal negotiations beginning early January for a political transition to stabilize Syria that builds on the framework of the International Syria Support Group that occurred last month in Vienna and the 2012 Geneva Communique.
The resolution was supported unanimously after Mr. Ban discussed with the Council about his earlier meeting on Friday with International Syrian Support Group, consisting of the Arab League, the EU, the U.N., and 17 countries that includes Russia and the U.S.
“We see a country in ruins, millions of its people scattered across the world, and a whirlwind of radicalism and sectarianism that challenges regional and global security,” Ban Ki moon said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech before the U.N. on Friday thanking the other Security Council members and acknowledging the leadership of the U.N. that aims to develop the new resolution calling for a Syrian led political process within 6 months and works to build “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance” through an 18 month timetable under U.N. supervision.
Secretary Kerry said “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 Assad or Daesh, but between war and peace, between the violent extremes and a newly empowered political center.”
“The resolution that we just approved is a milestone because it sets out specific concepts with specific timeframes. Accordingly, we need to work hard together to help these political talks to go forward, to prepare for a ceasefire, and to encourage all the parties in Syria to participate in good faith” Kerry explained in his speech.
Kerry admitted that sharp differences remain within the international community about the future of President Assad.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius explained that future talks between opposition groups and the Assad led Syrian government would only succeed if there were “guarantees of the departure of Assad.”