The UN’s Security Council has reached a rare agreement backing an international plan for a Syria peace process.
The council adopted a resolution late last night, having previously been divided on the issue of the civil war that has ravaged the country for nearly five years, with China and Russia vetoing a number of Western resolutions.
The conflict has claimed more than a quarter million lives.
The UN resolution backs a plan for ceasefire and peace talks, with the goal of creating a unity government within two years. Talks between Syria’s warring government and opposition should begin in early January.
US secretary of state John Kerry said the unanimous vote sent a “clear message to all concerned”:
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.
Just two days ago, the Security Council also adopted a resolution to choke off funding for the so-called Islamic State (Isis), the terrorist group that currently controls parts of Syria.