UN 'action group' agrees to unity govt in Syria


UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan speaks to the press in Damascus on May 29, 2012, following his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In his meeting with Assad, Annan conveyed 'the grave concern of the international community about the violence in Syria, including in particular the recent events in Houla,' his office said.


Louai Beshara

The United Nations Security Council today agreed to a plan for a unity government in Syria made up of representatives loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and members of the country's rebel forces trying to overthrow Assad's regime, reported SKY News

How such a cabinet might function in terms of practical politics was unclear, but the move represents the UN Security Council's most united front in months of fractious debate on Syria, as the humanitarian crisis there deepened.

Critically, the precise role of Assad himself in the new government was left open to question, threatening to endanger the fragile consensus reached today by the so-called Syria "action group," according to the LA Times

More from GlobalPost: Inside Syria: There's no place like Homs

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted the plan's requirement that rebel and regime supporters give their "mutual consent" to members of the new government means Assad is out, said The Telegraph

"I will doubt that the Syrians who have fought to hard for their independence ... will select people with blood on their hands to lead them," added UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan, reported SKY

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed he was "delighted" with the transitional government plan, said SKY. Russia, a Syria ally and veto-wielding member of the only UN body capable of passing sanctions-laden resolutions, has been at odds with the US over attempts to end the political crisis in Syria.

Lavrov did not comment on Assad, saying only that the future government of Syria is now in the hands of the country's citizens, said the LA Times

The Syrian president's brutal crackdown on the over year-old anti-government revolt has drawn widespread criticism and ushered in 16 months of political upheaval that has left some 10,000 people dead. 

Repeated attempts by the UN to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis have failed. The fact that the new peace plan's language is already being picked apart does not bode well, nor does the fact that it could take up to a year to implement, reported The Telegraph

The foreign ministers of UN Security Council members Britain, the US, China, Russia and France, as well as the foreign ministers of Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar, participated in today's talks in Geneva.

Annan earlier told the group the world "will judge us all harshly if we prove incapable of taking the right path today," according to AP

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Thursday said “the bloodiest week of the Syrian Revolution" took place over June 20-26, with a reported 916 people killed, said Al Arabiya