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UN security council agrees on Syria draft resolution

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrives for a meeting on Syria. Picture by Richard Drew, Associated Press
Staff Reporter

UN SECURITY Council members yesterday agreed on a draft resolution on a peace process for Syria involving talks by representatives of the Damascus government and the opposition.

However, the draft does not mention the critical issue of what role President Bashar Assad will play.

Diplomats had rushed to overcome divisions while world powers held the latest talks on how to bring an end to the conflict, which has seen more than 300,000 killed in five years.

The draft resolution requests that UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon convene representatives of the Syrian government and opposition "to engage in formal negotiations on a political transition process on an urgent basis, with a target of early January 2016 for the initiation of talks".

Within six months, the process should establish "credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance," with UN-supervised "free and fair elections" to be held within 18 months.

The draft calls the transition Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, stressing that the "Syrian people will decide the future of Syria".

It also says ceasefire efforts should move forward in parallel with the talks.

The draft notes that the ceasefire "will not apply to offensive or defensive actions" against groups considered terrorist organisations, meaning that air strikes by Russia, France and the US-led coalition apparently would not be affected.

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