After five years of conflict in Syria, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a new resolution on Friday with a timetable for a ceasefire, a new constitution and elections, all under UN auspices, according to a UN report.
The Security Council asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to convene Syrian government and opposition representatives in formal negotiations early next month, in line with the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.
“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 told the council.
He added: “The people of Syria have suffered enough. I call for you to show vision and leadership in overcoming your differences. A fleeting opportunity for peace has emerged; your duty is to seize it.”
The resolution tackled key points regarding the ceasefire and political transition. According to the UN report, it called for a Syrian-led political process facilitated by the UN, aiming to establish “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance” within six months.
It further set a schedule for drafting a new constitution, with free and fair elections to be held within 18 months under UN supervision, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to vote.
Moreover, it once again called for all member states involved, as well as the International Syria Support group, to combat “Islamic State”, the Al-Nusra Front and other militant groups.
During a meeting at foreign ministry level, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, highlighted the importance of reaching a political resolution to end the conflict in Syria, according to an official ministry statement Saturday.
In parallel, antiterrorism efforts should be bolstered to ban any foreign interference in Syria, Shoukry added.
The foreign ministers’ meeting further discussed the progress on the latest meetings in Vienna and Saudi Arabia.
Earlier in December, Saudi Arabia hosted a meeting between Syrian opposition groups, with the aim of developing a unified voice for groups seeking the removal of the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
Following several days of talks, representatives discussed the formation of a delegation at a common position from which to negotiate with the Syrian government ahead of a second round of negotiations in Vienna in January.