DAMASCUS, Syria, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- The Syrian government announced Friday that it will participate in a second round of Geneva peace talks.
The announcement -- via state-run SANA news agency -- came on the heels of a Syrian government-announced temporary truce for the embattled city of Homs so that "innocent civilians" could be evacuated and humanitarian aid brought into the city.
According to Syrian Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Dr. Faisal Mikdad, "Restoring security and stability to Syria makes it necessary to discuss putting an end to terrorism and violence as stated in Geneva Communique and underlines the need for agreement of both Syrian sides on that for protecting the Syrian citizens and stopping the Syrian bloodshed at the hands of regionally and internationally-backed armed terrorist groups."
UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahim mediated the first round of Geneva II peace talks between the opposition Syrian Coalition and the Syrian government. Despite a "difficult start" and "very slow" progress during the week-long negotiations, Brahimi expressed "hope that we can start to build more common ground when next we meet."