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Brahimi's Six Principles for a Political Transition in Syria, January 2013

Published January 29, 2013

Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi presented this report at the United Nations Security Council on Janaury 29, 2013, to inform negotiations with Syria. See also the Peace Plan of former joint special envoy Kofi Annan.

Six principles excerpted from full report:

"The principles on which the Council's actions might be based are explicitly or implicitly contained in the Geneva Communiqué:

a) Syria's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity must be preserved;

b) There must be clear recognition that the ultimate objective is to enable the Syrian people to exercise their legitimate rights to dignity and human rights and to have a full say in the manner in which they are governed;

c) An essential element in that process is the formation of a transitional Government with full executive powers. The meaning of "full executive powers" has to be clarified before the Syrian parties come together to discuss the formation of that transitional government. Leaving that definition, the definition of full executive powers, to the parties is fairly certain to lead to a dead end;

In this connection, the Geneva communiqué was elegant and creative in that it did not speak of President Bashar Al-Assad and his role in the transition and beyond. I think, however, it is largely understood that "governing body with full executive powers" clearly meant that the President would have no role in the transition;

Now, Mr. President,

And this is another point that needs to be taken into consideration,

d) The actual negotiation should take place between a strong, fully representative team on behalf of the opposition and a strong civilian- military delegation representing the Government. Of course both negotiating teams should be comprised of individuals capable of reaching a compromise agreement during a reasonable period of time;

e) These negotiations should start outside of Syria and take place according to an agreed timetable to enable the process to move – as fast as possible - towards the democratic process which would include the election, constitutional reform and referendum. From what I heard in Damascus and elsewhere, it will not be to difficult to secure agreement to move the country from the present Presidential system to a Parliamentary system of Government;

f) It is important that the Council unequivocally expresses support for the right of each citizen in Syria to enjoy full equality before the law irrespective of gender, religion, language or ethnicity."

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