(From Reuters)

The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously agreed a resolution endorsing an international roadmap for a Syria peace process, a rare show of unity among major powers on a conflict that has claimed more than a quarter million lives.

“This council is sending a clear message to all concerned that the time is now to stop the killing in Syria and lay the groundwork for a government that the long-suffering people of that battered land can support,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the 15-nation council after the vote.

The resolution came after Russia and the United States clinched a deal on a text. The two powers have had very different views on what should happen in Syria, where Islamic State militants control considerable territory that Western governments suspect has been a launch pad for attacks on Western nations and Russia.

Kerry made clear that there were still differences on the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Russia and Iran who Western countries want ousted.

“We are under no illusions about the obstacles that exist. There obviously remain sharp differences within the international community, especially about the future of President Assad,” Kerry added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said about the resolution: “This is a clear response to attempts to impose a solution from the outside on Syrians on any issues, including those regarding its president.”

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the talks between the Syrian government and opposition would only succeed if there were credible guarantees on Assad’s departure.

There must be “guarantees on the departure of Bashar al-Assad,” he said. “How could this man unite a people that he has in part massacred? The idea that he could once again stand for elections is unacceptable to us.”

The resolution does not touch on the question of Assad’s fate. Read more

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