GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The second round of Geneva II peace talks between the opposition Syrian Coalition and the Syrian regime began Monday.
United Nations-Arab League Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, who mediated the first round of talks, is once again in the chief mediator. He met Monday with the opposition's chief negotiator, Mr. Hedi Albahra, and then with the Syrian Government delegation's chief negotiator, Ambassador Bashar Ja'fari, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
The office of the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Monday's "discussions centered on the agenda of the second round of the Talks, chiefly questions relating to the cessation of violence and terrorism and the establishment of a Transitional Governing Body in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 30 June 2012."
On February 7, the Syrian government committed to participating in this second round of negotiations with the Syrian opposition. A day earlier, the Syrian government announced a temporary truce to allow "innocent civilians" to evacuate the embattled city of Homs, and to allow humanitarian aid to enter the city.
The first round of direct Syrian peace talks were held from January 24 to January 31. 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."