World powers agreed on a new plan for a Syrian transition government that did not contain a call on President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
Foreign ministers of the five permanent UN Security Council members -- China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. -- as well as Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, the European Union, the Arab League and Iraq ended talks today in Geneva without indicating agreement on as-Assad’s future as the Middle Eastern country’s head of state.
The UN said more than 10,000 people have died since the unrest began in March 2011, while thousands more may be killed. The U.S., the U.K. and France, set to go to the Friends of Syria in Paris on July 6, pay soon push for the UN Security Council to mandate sanctions or authorize military force to stop the slaughter to force Russia and China into agreeing or casting a veto.
“I think people with blood on their hands hopefully are not the only people in Syria,” said UN special envoy Kofi Annan. He condemned the violence in Syria and said “time is running out” for the Middle Eastern country.
“It is for the Syrian people to determine the future of the country,” Annan said, adding a Syrian solution requires “clear, irreversible steps.”
“We agreed on a set of principles and guidelines.”