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UN Security Council backs new Syria mediation efforts

15-member body shows support for Syria envoy's plan despite reservations from Venezuela

18.08.2015
UN Security Council backs new Syria mediation efforts

NEW YORK

The UN Security Council on Monday backed plans for a transitional government in Syria.

The 15-member council unanimously voted in favor of UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura's new push for peace talks, although non-permanent member Venezuela voiced reservations.

De Mistura’s proposal includes launching a “Syrian-led political process leading to a political transition... including through the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers”.

The plan is based on the 2012 Geneva Communique that calls for an immediate end to fighting.

Venezuelan Ambassador Rafael Ramirez said his country disassociated itself from references to a transitional government as it disregarded the “legitimacy of the government of President Bashar Assad and violates the sovereignty of these people.”

The statement had been under negotiation since de Mistura announced a new proposal last month. Its release had reportedly been postponed until Monday due to objections by Venezuela.

“In order to work towards political negotiations and a political transition based on the Geneva Communique, four thematic areas need to be addressed through more focused consultations and discussions with the Syrian parties in four thematic working groups", the statement said, echoing de Mistura's proposal.

These working groups will address “safety and protection for all; political and legal issues; military, security and counter-terrorism issues; and continuity of public services and reconstruction and development,” the statement said.

The Syrian civil war, now in its fifth year, has resulted in the deaths of at least 250,000 people and made the country the world's single-largest source of refugees and displaced people, according to the UN.

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