Wednesday

26th Apr 2017

UN agrees to new Syria plan

Foreign ministers, including China and Russia, agreed Saturday (30 June) in Geneva to a new United Nations peace plan that calls upon the immediate cessation of violence in Syria and for “clear and irreversible steps” towards a transitional government.

The internationally-backed UN plan made no specific reference to the stepping down of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. The new transitional government, notes the UN document, would instead include by “mutual consent” members of the present government and the opposition.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Some 800 people died last week in Syria, say activists. (Photo: syriana2011)

Russia and China continue to oppose any direct intervention but the new proposal may leave open the possibility for Assad’s removal, claim both UK and French foreign ministers.

“Even if they say the opposite, the fact that the text says specifically that there will be a transitional government with all powers means it won't be Bashar al-Assad … because it will be people that are agreed to by mutual consent,” said French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius.

The transitional plan says a political agreement must offer a clear timetable. It also states the transition needs to be rapid and “genuinely democratic and pluralistic”. Elections would occur once a new constitutional order has been drafted and accepted by the Syrians, says the plan.

The Geneva plan also calls upon the Syrian government to release people who have been arbitrarily detained, allow in humanitarian organisations, ensure the freedom of movement of journalists, and respect the freedom of association and the right to demonstrate.

The Guardian newspaper reports opposition inside Syria is disappointed with the new Geneva proposal, calling it “ambiguous” and “a waste of time”.

Meanwhile, the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement the agreement “offers concrete points for action and I hope it will help bring about an end to violence and launch a political process in Syria and led by Syrians.”

An estimated 16,000 people have so far lost their lives in an uprising that started around 15 months ago. Some 800 died last week alone, according to activists.

Syrian government forces on Saturday reportedly broke past rebel resistance in Douma, an opposition-stronghold in the suburbs of Damascus.

An ITV News correspondent in Syria said on Friday warplanes were dropping bombs on the city. Reuters reports local residents spotted a convoy of some 200 government troops entering the district the following day.

Turkey sends fighter jets

Ministers backing Saturday's UN proposal, including Turkey’s minister, oppose militarisation and any escalation to the conflict.

But on Sunday, Turkey scrambled six F-16 fighter jets near its 800 km border with Syria. Syrian military helicopters had come within 6.5 km of entering Turkey’s airspace.

Turkey on Friday also deployed rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns along the border. Syria had downed a Turkish F-4 Phantom jet on 22 June.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said any Syrian military aircraft approaching its border would be seen and treated as a threat.

He described Syria as a “clear and present threat”.

Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU

Beijing special envoy on the Syrian conflict said in Brussels that "imposing" a solution from the outside would "not be workable" and that the peace process will not be "smooth sailing".

Russia suspected of Macron hack

Likely Russian spies tried to steal email passwords from Macron's people the same way they hacked US elections, new study says.

Russia suspected of Macron hack

Likely Russian spies tried to steal email passwords from Macron's people the same way they hacked US elections, new study says.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament moves to lift Le Pen's immunity
  2. EU Commission launches probe into Hungary's university law
  3. Scots slowly losing appetite for independence - poll
  4. Council of Europe puts Turkey on watch list
  5. EU to put parental leave on political agenda
  6. Israel cancels German meeting over human rights groups
  7. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  8. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children

Latest News

  1. Power struggle in Greenland: Three reasons why the EU should care
  2. Nordic and Baltic countries step up digitalisation efforts
  3. European states still top media freedom list
  4. Let’s not put European public health at risk
  5. Threatened Budapest university calls for EU support
  6. Orban set to face down EU threats
  7. Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU
  8. Russische schwarze Kassen bedrohen EU Demokratie