Last updated: 14 February, 2013

New Syria peace plan circulated in UN, reports Saudi daily

A new peace plan for Syria, involving the creation of a senate to oversee a power transition, is currently making the rounds in the United Nations, Saudi newspaper Asharq Alawsat reported.

The daily reported that it had obtained a copy of the plan aimed at ending Syria’s 23-month conflict, saying that it had been drafted “under UN supervision”.

Members of the Syria-based opposition that is tolerated by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad took part in the drafting of the plan, the paper added.

The draft does not elaborate on Assad’s fate, though the West and opposition groups calling for his fall have said any talks should lead to his departure.

The plan foresees the creation of a 140-member senate body tasked with leading the dialogue process between the regime and the opposition during a transitional phase, said Asharq al-Awsat.

“This senate will be the core of (Syria’s) Second Republic,” said the London-based newspaper.

While 102 senate members would be elected “under the UN’s strict supervision, the remaining 38 would be appointed by the regime, the opposition and religious institutions.

The plan also says Faruq al-Sharaa, Syria’s vice president, should head the senate.

Within a month of the enactment of this plan “there would be an immediate ceasefire and (loyalist) troops would start withdrawing from the cities”, said the daily.

After the establishment of a proposed senate, a committee would be set up to prepare for elections under UN supervision, Asharq Alawsat added.

Syria’s armed uprising flared after Assad’s forces launched a bloody crackdown on peaceful democracy protests that erupted in March 2011, inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings.

The UN says nearly 70,000 people have been killed