The joint UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan on Thursday proposed a “unity government” in Syria that would include supporters of the Assad regime and members of the opposition in order to end the 16-month bloody conflict.
Russia, China, the United States, the United Kingdom and France have voiced support for the plan, which will be reviewed at a June 30 conference of foreign ministers in Geneva, even though, Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, said that he is in favor of changes that might lead to “national agreement”, but warned that Moscow “will not support an external solution”. Assad’s fate, he added, must be decided “by the Syrian people”.
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition groups said they would reject the plan if it did not explicitly ban President Bashar al-Assad in any “unity government”.
Annan’s new proposal will call for multi-party elections, and an offer for “significant” international funding to rebuild war-torn Syria, according to a blueprint obtained by the AFP news agency.
According to Annan the transitional government “could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups, but would exclude from government those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardise stability and reconciliation”, leaving unclear which officials should be excluded from the transitional government.
Foreign ministers from Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar and Iraq are also set to attend the meeting. Iran, Assad’s other close ally, was excluded – a condition set down by the US – as was Saudi Arabia, which has supported the Syrian opposition, according to Al Jazeera.
Syria’s state television SANA reported on Thursday that two explosions rocked a court complex in central Damascus, wounding three people and damaging 20 cars.
Meanwhile, at least 70 people were killed Thursday in Syria, mainly in areas near Damascus, according to opposition activists.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressed concerns on Thursday regarding some 1000 Syrian civilians trapped iin the central province of Homs.
It said that a joint team from the ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent was prevented from entering the worst-hit areas on Wednesday in Homs.