World Powers Reach Agreement on Syria
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- International officials this weekend agreed on a plan for a transition of power in Syria, but it didn't specifically call for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
Under the agreement, a body would be created to oversee a political transition backed by the United Nations, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The meeting in Geneva was called by Kofi Annan, the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria.
Participants, which included Russia, a key Assad ally, were seeking a diplomatic solution to Syria's violent conflict.
The U.S. and Russia offered different interpretations on whether members of the current regime would end up participating in the transition.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that meeting participants agreed that Syrians must decide on the transition and that no group should be excluded, the Herald Sun added.
"How exactly the work on a transition to a new stage is conducted will be decided by the Syrians themselves," Lavrov was quoted saying.
But U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "Assad will still have to go. He will never pass the mutual consent test," according to the Herald Sun.
The current Syrian conflict began in January 2011 as part of the Arab Spring uprisings that led to the ousters of authoritarian regimes in North Africa and the Middle East. Syrians pushed for an end to decades of Ba'ath Party rule, but Assad's government has responded with force, and the violence is estimated to have killed at least 15,000 people.