The Russian government has proposed a seven-point peace plan for Syria, ahead of the next international negotiations slated to be held in Geneva starting on Nov. 13.
The most notable aspect of the plan is that it calls for Assad to eventually leave power, after the transition to a new government has been made.
Shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, the Russian press reported that the Kremlin could change its position on the survival of the Assad regime.
The plan, which was leaked to the Russian press on Nov. 3, upholds this view. It proposes a “no winners, no losers” solution which analysts say is similar to the Taif agreement of 1989 which put an end to civil war in Lebanon.
For now, there has been no official reaction to the plan from Western governments.
According to the plan, there cannot be a “winner-takes-all” outcome to the conflict, explained Vladimir Florov, a PR advisor to the Russian government, in an article on the website Gazeta.ru.
It reads as follows:
- There will be two categories for the Syrian armed opposition: Those who are willing to enter into negotiations with Bashar al-Assad and those who will continue armed resistance.
- A cease-fire will be reached between the Assad regime army and the opposition groups willing to negotiate with the regime. There will be a total cessation of arms shipments made by the external "sponsors" to the Syrian opposition.
- Negotiations will be held between opposition groups and representatives of the Free Syrian Army. This dialogue should result in an agreement on a general amnesty and the release of all prisoners. Preparations for early presidential and parliamentary elections to form a government of national reconciliation representing all the groups should be made. The Syrian constitution should be amended for the transfer of powers from the president to the prime minister.
- Russia should provide assurances that Assad will not participate in the next presidential election personally, but may nominate someone from his family or inner circle.
- All armed opposition groups and pro-Iranian militias should be assimilated into the Syrian national army.
- The Russians will guarantee a full amnesty to all participants from the armed opposition groups so long as the opposition agrees to forego the option to prosecute Assad and his family.
- Russian military presence will continue in Syria through a special resolution of the UN Security Council as a guarantor for the implementation of the settlement agreements reached.
The essential aspect of the plan, as Florov noted, is that escalation of the four-year conflict, which has cost 250,000 lives, would cease. “Russia is eager to see peace negotiations make notable progress. It is trying to promote a political solution,” he said.
The plan proposes that a ceasefire should be followed by a cessation of supplies to the warring groups from both sides, Florov noted.
Russia will make sure that while Syrian President Assad steps aside, he would still play a part in the political transition, Florov pointed out.
It is important to note, Florov said, that the plan calls for any future external intervention in Syria to be strictly mandated by the UN, and only by the UN.
Previous peace talks in Geneva have been inconclusive. The Russian plan claims to inaugurate an equitable redistribution of power so that the state institutions remain intact, Frolov said.
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