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UN envoy calls for transitional government in Syria

The international envoy charged with pushing to end Syria's civil war has called for the formation of a transitional government to run the country until new elections can be held.

Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Damascus Thursday that political changes in Syria must not be "cosmetic" but lead to genuine change while preserving state institutions.

Brahimi did not specify the role of President Bashar Assad in any new government. Rebels seeking to topple his regime refuse any role for Assad and top regime members.

The Syrian government did not immediately comment on Brahimi's suggestion.

This is similar to a plan proposed earlier this year by previous envoy Kofi Annan that did not take off.

Anti-regime activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed since crisis began in March 2011.