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Little momentum at Geneva II Syria peace talks

UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, the mediator for the Geneva II Syria peace talks, lamented Monday that there was not much momentum from the direct talks between delegations from the opposition Syrian coalition and the Syrian government, but noted there was an apparent "will" to continue meeting.

By JC Finley
Little momentum at Geneva II Syria peace talks
UN-Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, pictured in October 2013, is serving as mediator for the Geneva II direct talks between delegations from the opposition Syrian Coalition and the Syrian government. (UPI/Maryam Rahmanian) | License Photo

GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi convened a press conference on Monday to provide an update on the status of direct negotiations between delegates from the opposition Syrian Coalition and the Syrian government.

The two parties met for their first face-to-face meeting on Saturday. Two days into the dialogue, Brahimi, who is serving as a mediator for the negotiations, offered "I’m afraid there isn’t much to report."

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Brahimi spent Monday's negotiations going through a Syrian government paper and general principles from the Geneva Communique. The agenda for Tuesday is to discuss and debate the Geneva Communique. A key focus of the communique concerns the establishment of a transitional government.

Brahimi noted that Sunday's meeting initially resulted in an agreement by the Syrian government to allow women and children to leave the embattled city of Homs. That issue is still under discussion given related security concerns that Brahimi is "begging" them to address.

Despite the sluggish pace of negotiations, Brahimi said "I am glad that there is, apparently, the will to continue these discussions. Once again, we tell you, you know, we never expected any miracle. There are no miracles here, but we will continue and see if progress can be made and when."

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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.

[United Nations]

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