A group of world leaders in Geneva on Saturday reached agreement on the wording of a new resolution on Syria, but there may be disagreements over what the resolution means.
In emailed Association Press alerts, the Russian foreign minister was quoted as saying the resolution does not require the ouster of the Assad administration, while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying “Assad will still have to go.”
The agreement states, “The establishment of a transitional governing body which can establish a neutral environment in which the transition can take place. That means that the transitional governing body would exercise full executive powers. It could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent.”
The resolution is available for reading online. Key points of agreement are:
- All parties must re-commit to a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms and implementation of the six-point plan immediately and without waiting for the actions of others. The government and armed opposition groups must cooperate with UNSMIS with a view to furthering the implementation of the above in accordance with its mandate.
- A cessation of armed violence must be sustained with immediate, credible and visible actions by the Government of Syria to implement the other items of the six-point plan including:
- Intensification of the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons, including especially vulnerable categories of persons, and persons involved in peaceful political activities; provision without delay through appropriate channels of a list of all places in which such persons are being detained; the immediate organization of access to such locations; and the provision through appropriate channels of prompt responses to all written requests for information, access or release regarding such persons;
- Ensuring freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists and a non-discriminatory visa policy for them;
- Respecting freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully as legally guaranteed.
- In all circumstances, all parties must show full respect for UNSMIS’ safety and security and fully cooperate with and facilitate the Mission in all respects.
- In all circumstances, the Government must allow immediate and full humanitarian access to humanitarian organizations to all areas affected by the fighting. The Government and all parties must enable the evacuation of the wounded, and all civilians who wish to leave to do so. All parties must fully adhere to their obligations under international law, including in relation to the protection of civilians.
The closed meeting was attended by the secretaries-general of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, the foreign ministers of China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar, and the European Union High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy.
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