Vienna talks: 19 global powers to work to establish nationwide Syria ceasefire

Still, terrorists must not be given a chance to seize power in the country, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said during a press conference, adding that this understanding is shared by all 19 parties attending the talks.

The truce is not going to be applicable to Islamic State extremists and other terrorists, Lavrov said. A comprehensive list of terror groups operating in Syria will be defined during a separate meeting.

Participants of the Vienna talks agreed on the necessity to work on a new constitution in Syria, and to hold elections that should be administered by the UN, Lavrov said. State institutions are to remain intact.

Meanwhile, the truce is to be followed by the formation of a transitional government. Earlier reports said that the ceasefire should be achieved within four to six months, but the Russian FM did not confirm the timetable.

READ MORE: US sends less than 50 special forces to advise ‘moderate opposition’ in Syria – White House

The UN is calling for all the countries that have influence on the Syrian government and opposition to try and put them at a negotiating table, the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura said.

Humanitarian organizations should be given access to all territories in Syria, participants of the talks pointed out.

Should Assad go?

The fate of Bashar Assad remained a stumbling block throughout the seven hour meeting.

The US and its allies including Saudi Arabia believe that the Syrian president, whose term expires in 2021, must resign. There is “no way Assad can unite and govern Syria,”  US Secretary of State John Kerry said.

The two countries do not demand the immediate resignation as a precondition for peace process anymore, saying Assad can stay in power for months during the period of transition, but insist he must step down when it draws to a close.

At the same time, Russia’s Lavrov again stressed that it is up to the Syrian people to make such decisions.

The Syrian people should define the future of their country including Assad’s fate,” Russia’s FM added.

As the meeting in Vienna wrapped up it remained unclear how truce and the transitional period are going to be implemented, how long the latter will last, and whether the parties in the Syrian conflict are ready to accept it – as neither Damascus nor the opposition took part in the negotiations. The next round of Vienna talks is scheduled to take place in two weeks.

Vienna meeting participants: Russia, the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq, Italy, Egypt, Great Britain, Germany, Lebanon, Qatar, Iran, France, China, the UAE, Jordan, Oman, the EU and the UN.

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