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Syria: UN security council approves draft resolution on peace process

He emphasized that victory over the Islamic State group, also known by the Arabic acronym Daesh, must pass through a peaceful settlement in the broader Syrian civil war.

The text tasks the United Nations with setting up and implementing a ceasefire across Syria.

Kerry reiterated that there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria and the political solution is the only choice, affirming that only the Syrian people have the right to determine the future of their country.

Touching on the peace process in Syria, the top Iranian diplomat said there are two separate tracks to ensure that the procedure will go on.

Meanwhile Friday, some 20 foreign ministers tackled those and other issues for a possible end to Syria’s civil war, including sorting out which Syrian groups will represent the opposition in peace talks in the new year.

The remaining differences among the Council members concern the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which the resolution does not address.

The draft also says cease-fire efforts should move forward in parallel with the talks, and it asks Ban to report within a month of the resolution’s adoption on a way to monitor the cease-fire.

The resolution foresees the first talks beginning in January.

Friday’s Security Council meeting was chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry, as the US holds the council’s rotating presidency for the month of December.

Russian support for Assad has been the main obstacle to worldwide unity, with President Vladimir Putin insisting the long-standing protege of Moscow should be allowed to stand in elections to choose any new administration.

Also in question is Assad’s fate.

Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura made clear that the previously envisioned January 1 start to peace talks was unlikely.

Assad and his wife chatted with the men and women of the “Joy Choir”, who were practicing ahead of a performance on Christmas Eve, state media said Saturday. “They [Russia] have the responsibility to bring Assad to the table and to keep Assad at the table and negotiating in good faith”, he said.

Ceasefire calls are important, and all Syrian rivals should lay down their arms, the foreign minister said.

But Resolution 2254 strongly implies that negotiations should include every rebel group, except Jabhat al-Nusra, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

“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”, he said.

In remarks to the UNSC, Ban urged members “to show vision and leadership in overcoming your differences”.

The new resolution calls on all parties to allow humanitarian agencies immediate, quick, safe and unhindered access to all parts of Syria through the shortest route and allow immediate humanitarian assistance to reach all those in need.

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