UNITED NATIONS - Bringing the raging conflict in Syria to an end remains a high priority for the UN security Council, the 15-nation body’s President for the month of January, Ambassador Masood Khan, said on Thursday as he outlined its programme of work for the month. Addressing a Press conference after his assumption of the Presidency of the Council, the world body’s power centre, he said that he spoke to the UN-Arab League joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, who is in Cairo, about his efforts to resolve the long-running conflict in which over 60,000 people are said to have been killed.He said Brahimi was hard at work and was in contact with all parties, especially Russia and the United States in a bid for a diplomatic breakthrough. The Council President hoped that the once Brahimi had made some headway, he would come to New York to brief the Security Council.Asked about Pakistan’s position on Kashmir, Masood Khan said that the decades-old dispute had to be resolved by India and Pakistan through negotiations and that the UN resolutions calling for a UN-sponsored plebiscite remain an “important framework” for a peaceful settlement.The Council President said that Pakistan had proposed two open debates on —the comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism on January 15 and UN Peacekeeping operations on January 21. The peacekeeping debate will have a high-level presence from Pakistan. The counterterroism debate will be presided over by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, he said.“During its Presidency, Pakistan will help Council members to forge consensus and bridge differences,” he added.He said that peacekeeping was one of the most important tools at the disposal of the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security.In the past 52 years, he said Pakistan has sent 144,711 troops to 23 countries and 41 missions while 132 Pakistani peacekeepers had laid down their lives in the cause of international peace during the missions.As a leading and one of the most consistent contributors of personnel to UN peacekeeping operations over the decades, he said Pakistan has a vital interest in the continued effectiveness and success of UN peacekeeping. There are significant challenges and equally promising opportunities in the area of peacekeeping, he said. Masood Khan said the counter-terrorism debate would provide an opportunity to the Council members and the general membership to have a holistic view of the continuing threats and challenges posed by international terrorism and the best ways of formulating and implementing coherent and comprehensive responses to this menace. “We have put the difficult issue of counter terrorism on the agenda of the Council for a special debate. Terrorism can only be rooted out through a comprehensive approach of deterrence, dialogue and development”, Ambassador Masood Khan said.A photographic exhibition will be organized to mark 52 years of Pakistan’s contribution to the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. Currently, Pakistan has over 9,000 troops and other personnel deployed in eight UN Peacekeeping Missions around the world.The Council will also have the quarterly open debate on the situation in the Middle East including the Palestinian question on January 23. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry shall brief the Council. Another important issue to be considered during Pakistan’s Presidency is Rule of Law.Pakistan has proposed to convene a formal wrap-up session of the Council on January 31st, which will allow the general membership to provide their views on the activities of the Council during the month.