GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi provided an update on Wednesday concerning the direct talks between delegates from the opposition Syrian coalition and the Syrian government.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of "a long day," the usually optimistic Brahimi lamented that "to be blunt, I do not expect that we will achieve anything substantive."
Wednesday's sessions addressed the Geneva I communique's mandate for the establishment of a transitional government body as well as humanitarian issues and the security situation in the embattled city of Homs.
Brahimi acknowledged that while "we realize every day that the two parties seem to be willing to stay on and to talk, but the gap between them is quite large."
The week-long direct talks are scheduled to conclude on Friday, with Brahimi anticipating a second series of talks to begin "most probably after about one week. So, wish us luck..."
The UN convened the two-part Geneva II Syria conference, with the U.S. and Russia serving as co-hosts. An international summit in Montreux, Switzerland on January 22 preceded the Syrian parties' direct talks. Direct talks, scheduled to begin January 24 were delayed due to tensions between the delegations and began January 25. Brahimi has offered glimpses into the status of the negotiations at daily press conferences.