GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. Department of State Under Secretary Wendy Sherman attended a trilateral meeting on Thursday in Geneva with UN and Russian officials to discuss how to further the Geneva II Syria peace talks.
The meeting is, according to the State Department, a continuation of "the series of trilateral meetings held between the United States, Russia, and the UN that focus on how to best move the Geneva II process forward." Sherman met Thursday for two hours with UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative and Geneva II mediator Lakhdar Brahimi and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov.
Brahimi addressed a press conference at the conclusion of the meeting and reported that both the U.S. and Russia "promised to help here, in their capitals, and elsewhere, to unblock the situation, because we are [still] not making much progress."
When asked if the slow moving peace talks could be considered a failure, Brahimi responded "Failure is always staring at us in the face. As far the United Nations is concerned, we will certainly not leave one stone unturned if there is a possibility to move forward… Syria is in a dark tunnel, and these attempts are the point of light at the end of the tunnel."
The first round of direct Syrian talks between delegates from the opposition Syrian Coalition and the Syrian government were held in Geneva from January 24 to January 31. The second round began on Monday in Geneva, with Brahimi describing it "as laborious as it was the first week." The UN convened the Geneva II peace conference, with the U.S. and Russia serving as co-hosts.