ROUNDUP: UN PASSES PEACE PLAN FOR SYRIA CONFLICT

UNITED NATIONS — The 15-member UN Security Council Friday unanimously approved Resolution 2254 on the Syrian conflict, endorsing a roadmap for a Syrian-led political transition to end the country’s crisis.

Initiated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, the resolution calls for peace talks and a ceasefire to be launched in early January.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled two recent meetings on the Syrian conflict in Vienna, saying that the UN stands ready to undertake these important tasks, including a Syrian-led political transition and a nationwide ceasefire.

“I call for you to show vision and leadership in overcoming your differences,” Ban said. “A fleeting opportunity for peace has emerged; your duty is to seize it.”

“Here is affirmation of the fundamental principles of the political settlement, namely that Syria should remain unified, secular, pluri-religious and pluri-ethnic, comfortable and safe for all groups of its people and only the Syrian people themselves can define its future,” said Lavrov.

“The unanimous adoption today of the resolution by the council has created a broad counter-terrorism front on the basis of the UN Charter, on the basis of all of those who are pushing back against terror on the ground, including the Syrian army, the Turkish armed militias and parts of the Syrian opposition as well as the Russian air forces in response to the legitimate request of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Lavrov added.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was singled out for praise by Kerry, for coming all the way to UN headquarters in New York for just “one day”. He headed home immediately after the meeting.

“The resolution embodies the broad consensus of the international community, demonstrates the important role of the council, reflects the keen aspiration of the Syrian people and injects fresh impetus to politically solve the Syrian issue,” Wang said.

He said the process of drafting a new constitution must be independently decided by all parties and groups of Syria and that the future leader of Syria must be independently chosen by the Syrian people and only through a political process.

“The protracted conflict in the past five years has ruined Syria, a country with a time-honored civilization,” Wang said.

“A large number of Syrians have been displaced and unable to return to their homes. What is worse is that it has become a hotbed where radical ideas breed and spread as well as a playground of terrorists, posing a great threat to peace and security in the region and beyond,” he said. PNA/Xinhua