Annan proposes transitional government for Syria

Annan proposes transitional government for Syria

International envoy Kofi Annan has proposed setting up a Syrian transitional authority that could include followers of President Bashar al-Assad and opposition members in a bid to end the country’s war, diplomats said Wednesday.

By (AFP)

Published: Thu 28 Jun 2012, 9:45 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 2:42 PM

Russia and the other major powers — the United States, Britain, France and China — back the plan, which will be discussed at a meeting of foreign ministers Annan has convened in Geneva on Saturday, they said.

Annan’s blueprint says the interim government could include members of Assad’s government and opposition groups, but not officials “whose presence could harm the transition and jeopardize the credibility of the government or undermine efforts to bring reconciliation,” according to a summary given by one UN diplomat.

“The language of Annan’s plan suggests that Assad could be excluded but also that certain opposition figures could be ruled out,” said a second UN diplomat.

The diplomat stressed there was nothing in Annan’s document that automatically excluded Assad, who has been battling a 15-month-old uprising that activists say has left more than 15,000 dead.

“Russia’s acceptance of this plan could be a new sign that it is ready to let Assad go,” said the diplomat. However, another diplomat expressed surprise that Russia would accept any plan under which Assad would be abandoned by its main ally.

The plan is contained in a set of “Guidelines and Principles of a Syrian-led Transition” that Annan sent out to foreign ministers who will be at Saturday’s meeting, diplomats said.

The five major powers — all permanent members of the UN Security Council — along with Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq will be at the meeting. Iran and Saudi Arabia were not invited.

Speaking in Helsinki on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she had been in regular contact with Annan over his transition plan.

She did not make public details of his proposal, but noted: “I’ve been in close consultation with special envoy Kofi Annan about the prospects for a meeting that would focus on a roadmap for political transition in Syria.”

Annan “has developed his own very concrete roadmap for political transition, he has been circulating it for comments and when I spoke to him yesterday I conveyed our support for the plan that he has put forward,” said Clinton.

“We think it embodies the principles needed for any political transition in Syria that could lead to a peaceful, democratic and representative outcome reflecting the will of the Syrian people,” she added.

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