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Geneva II mediator: 'these are not easy negotiations'

UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi cut short Tuesday's negotiation session and directed the Syrian delegations to prepare for a better session Wednesday. Despite the impasse, Brahimi continued to express cautious optimism about the negotiations.

By JC Finley
Geneva II mediator: 'these are not easy negotiations'
UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, pictured at the Geneva II international summit in Montreux, Switzerland on January 21, 2014, is leading the mediation efforts between the opposition Syrian Coalition and the Syrian government in Geneva. (CC/State Department)

GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi provided an update on Tuesday concerning the direct talks between delegates from the opposition Syrian coalition and the Syrian government.

Addressing a press conference in Geneva, Brahimi said that negotiations were suspended after morning deliberations. "I am sure you have heard all sorts of explanations so I won't say much" about the impasse, alluding to the sensitivities of the discussions.

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Brahimi explained that it was his decision to cancel the afternoon session, suggesting that the parties instead "prepare ourselves for what I hope will be a better session tomorrow morning."

Despite the shortened day, Brahimi underlined that "No one is walking out. No one is running away." He said he was "glad" that delegation representatives from both sides had publicly indicated their intention to continue with the negotiations.

Brahimi reiterated his cautious optimism, saying "I think I will repeat again that these are not easy negotiations and they haven't been easy today and they haven't been easy these past few days, and they will probably not be easy in the coming few days... we have not achieved any breakthrough but we are still at it. And this is good enough, as far as I'm concerned."

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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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