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The New Arab

UN Security Council to discuss new Syria peace initiative

UN Syria envoy De Mistura to release "important" political solution to Syrian conflict [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 September, 2016

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New Zealand, revolving president to security council, wants to turn international "spotlight" on "the greatest crisis of our time."

The UN Security Council is to hold a special session on 21 September to discuss possible political solutions to the Syrian conflict.

Gerard van Bohemen, permanent representative of New Zealand to the United Nations (UN), told reporters on Thursday that the session will be chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who has also invited the other fourteen leaders of the current council nations to attend.

Van Bohemen said New Zealand wanted "to shine a spotlight" on "the greatest crisis of our time."

New Zealand has taken up the rotating presidency of the UN's Security Council for September, and van Bohemen has indicated a likely focus on conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, South Sudan and Syria.

It is expected that the meeting will discuss an "important political initiative" that is currently being drawn up by the UN's Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura. De Mistura previously said in August that he planned to release his proposals on a Syrian resolution before the UN General Assembly ministerial meeting started on September 13.

The meeting will discuss an "important political initiative" that is currently being drawn up by the UN's Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura

De Mistura has repeatedly tried to bring representatives from all sides of the conflict to the negotiating table, whilst fighting in the country has instead intensified.

Van Bohemen said it was important to try and organise a peace deal whilst high level politicians and world leaders were in New York for the meeting, which is due to start on September 20.

Numerous attempts by the UN to broker a peace deal in Syria have broken down over the past five years.

Van Bohemen also announced that he will step down as chairperson - an unprecedented move - when straw polls are taken for the next secretary-general because of previous New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark's candidacy.

Van Bohemen said "In real terms, I don't believe there is any conflict of interest in conducting a poll. But I decided it's a lot simpler to take away any kind of suggestion there might be."

Russia, a key ally of the Assad regime in Syria, is to assume the rotating presidency of the Security Council for October.

Agencies contributed to this report

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