New York (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution to end the war in Syria and set up a new Syrian government.
The resolution calls for ceasefire and formal talks on a political transition to start in early January, for "credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance" within six months, UN-supervised elections within 18 months, and continued actions against groups deemed terrorist organisations. UN chief Ban Ki-moon will report by 18 January on how to monitor a ceasefire.
US Secretary of State John Kerry called the UN Security Council Resolution on Syria (No. 2254) a "milestone" in the efforts to end a conflict that has killed more than 250,000 people in five years, and created millions of refugees. For America’s top diplomat, the plan gives Syrians a "real choice . . . between war and peace".
Although the resolution represents the first unanimous step by the UN Security Council, several issues were not addressed. For instance, it makes no mention of the future role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Europe and the United States have called for his departure, but Russia and China say he should not be required to leave power as a precondition for peace talks.
For Mr Kerry, Mr Assad had "lost the ability to unite the country" but demanding his immediate departure would result in "prolonging the war".
Arab nations also accept that Mr Assad can be part of the transition, but insist that he must be gone at the end of it.
What remains unclear is which armed groups operating in Syria can be considered terrorists and excluded from the peace talks, which UN envoy Staffan de Mistura is tasked to organise.
The resolution also does not stop air strikes against the Islamic State group.