World powers gather in New York to lock down Syrian peace plan

Some 20 foreign ministers gathered Friday for the latest conference on Syria's civil war, hopeful about arranging a ceasefire and launching peace negotiations in the new year.

See Full Article

But the diplomats remained divided over a resolution that the UN Security Council was expected to adopt just after the talks endorsing the process.

The ministers were meeting for the third time to push forward an earlier agreement to implement the ceasefire and start political talks on Jan. 1.

"We need to make sure the political process is irreversible in the face of this severe threat posed by international terrorism," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said as he headed into the meeting at a New York hotel.

"We must realize the political process is going to go backward if we are not making progress," he said.

Lang said the two most important issues are launching political negotiations and implementing the ceasefire. "Without peace talks, the ceasefire cannot be sustained. Without a ceasefire, peace talks cannot continue to produce results," he said.

Serious differences remain between Russia and Iran, which support the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and backers of the Syrian opposition, including the United States, key European nations, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Russia and the West continue to be split on the central issue in any discussions on a political transition: the fate of Assad.

British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said negotiations were still taking place on the Security Council resolution. UN diplomats said a key stumbling block was how to address the issue of the transitional government.

"We continue to look at this optimistically and are putting a lot of effort into getting an agreement," Rycroft said.

He said the resolution would not break new ground but would enshrine agreements from talks in Vienna and Geneva.

The resolution would be a rare gesture of unity in a Security Council that has been bitterly divided on Syria. But Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Thursday, "I'm not sure it's going to happen."

A peace plan agreed to last month by 20 nations meeting in Vienna sets a Jan. 1 deadline for the start of negotiations between Assad's government and opposition groups. The plan says nothing about Assad's future but says that "free and fair elections would be held pursuant to the new constitution within 18 months."

On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told The Associated Press there "seems to be no agreement" on two key issues. He said his country has seen "no lists we can agree upon" of Syrian opposition groups that should be included in peace negotiations, or of Syrian groups that should be considered terrorist organizations instead.

"Card-carrying members of al Qaeda do not satisfy the conditions that we set for members of the opposition," Zarif told reporters, ruling out any affiliates of the extremist group. "The opposition should be serious, and it should be inclusive."

Zarif said "we still don't know" if there will be any concrete progress in the talks.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Intercept attempt fails in missile defence test off Hawaii

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- The U.S. Missile Defence Agency said it failed to intercept a ballistic missile during a test off Hawaii. The failure came during a test conducted with Japan's Defence Ministry late Wednesday. The U.S. Source
  • North Korea tests rocket engine, U.S. officials say

    World News CBC News
    North Korea has carried out another test of a rocket engine that the United States believes could be part of its program to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, a U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday. Source
  • 'Hopefully, someday we'll see justice': Elliot Lake marks 5 years since deadly mall collapse

    Canada News CBC News
    Cars on Ontario Avenue in Elliot Lake, Ont., pass by a dusty, deserted property spanning several city blocks. An abandoned demolition machine, worn out signs and a road leading to where the Algo Centre Mall's parking deck used to be are all that is left on the site. Source
  • Alberta investigation to probe complaints of jailing indigenous sex assault victim

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta's Judicial Council will investigate complaints made about a judge over the jailing of an indigenous sex assault victim. The head of the council has received four complaints about provincial court Judge Raymond Bodnarek over his ruling that forced the homeless woman to spend time in the Edmonton Remand Centre. Source
  • Brexit: May offers hope for EU citizens, wins guarded praise

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- British Prime Minister Theresa May promised Thursday that EU citizens will not be immediately kicked out of Britain when it leaves the union and says their fate will be a top priority in Brexit negotiations -- prompting guarded praise from other EU leaders at a tense time for the continent. Source
  • Reserve declares state of emergency after third teen suicide

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Jenera Roundsky was just 12. On June 13, she texted a friend to say farewell - and then she killed herself. Jenera was the third girl to kill herself in recent days on the Wapekeka First Nation - northwest of Thunder Bay. Source
  • Police say security 'climate,' not specific threat, prompted weapons upgrade

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- City police officers patrolling the airport in the nation's capital are getting military-style rifles, but officials say the move wasn't prompted by any specific security threats. Rather, police say, the issuance of carbine rifles to officers at Ottawa International Airport will simply provide a higher degree of safety for travellers. Source
  • Crime afoot? Severed toe used in famous Yukon cocktail goes missing

    Canada News CTV News
    The bad news: a severed toe used as a garnish in a famous cocktail served in a Yukon bar has gone missing. The good news: the bar has two back-ups. The Sourtoe Cocktail has been served at the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City since 1973, after a captain found a severed digit in an abandoned cabin. Source
  • Suspected Flint terrorist hated America: Cops

    World News Toronto Sun
    Amor Ftouhi has an allegedly deep-rooted hatred for America. And on Wednesday, that rage exploded in an airport in Flint, Mich., when the Montreal father of three stabbed a police officer in the neck with a combat knife. Source
  • Chile declassifies files revealing Nazi plot to destroy Panama Canal

    World News CTV News
    SANTIAGO, Chile -- The Chilean equivalent of the FBI declassified World War II-era files on Thursday that show Nazi agents in the South American country's main port of Valparaiso plotted to destroy the Panama Canal. Source