UN peace envoy calls for transitional govt in Syria

Kofi Annan said,"We strongly condemn the continued escalating killing."

Zeenews Bureau

Geneva: In a bid to prevent spiralling bloodshed in Syria, United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan said there is international agreement that a transitional government should be set up in order to end the fighting here on Saturday.

Annan said, "international conference in Geneva had agreed there should be a transitional government body with full executive powers".

He also called for an immediate ceasefire and adherence to the UN`s six-point peace plan.

He said there should be access to Syria for humanitarian organisations and media.

International community was increasing pressure to end the violence, he added.

The foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States attended talks along with counterparts from regional powers Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar and Iraq. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Nabil Elaraby, the secretary-general of the Arab League, were also present at the talks. Major regional players Iran and Saudi Arabia were not invited.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged Russia and China to join Western nations in speaking with one voice on Syria, though he acknowledged that will be a stiff challenge.

"We haven`t reached agreement in advance with Russia and China — that remains very difficult. I don`t know if it will be possible to do so. In the interest of saving thousands of lives of our international responsibilities, we will try to do so," Hague said.

"It`s been always been our view, of course, that a stable future for Syria, a real political process, means Assad leaving power."
On Friday, the United States and Russia failed to bridge gaps over a plan to ease Syrian President Bashar Assad out of power, end violence and create a new government.

On the eve of Saturday`s conference, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met one-on-one for about an hour in St Petersburg, Russia, but could not reach agreement, officials said.

The United States and its allies attending the conference were adamant that the plan will not allow Assad to remain in power as part of the transitional government, but Russia insists that outsiders cannot dictate the composition of the interim administration or the ultimate solution to the crisis.

Annan on Friday laid out his expectations for the conference in an op-ed in The Washington Post that tracked very closely to the draft of his proposed plan, according to diplomats familiar with it.

The future government in Syria, he said, "must include a government of national unity that would exercise full executive powers”.

“This government could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups, but those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardise stability and reconciliation would be excluded," Annan said.

(With Agency inputs)

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