News / Middle East

    No Progress at Syria Talks

    U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) listens to his adviser Moncef Khane before a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 11, 2014.
    U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L) listens to his adviser Moncef Khane before a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 11, 2014.
    VOA News
    Talks in Geneva between Syria's government and opposition continue, despite no sign of progress.
     
    On Wednesday the warring sides held face-to-face meetings for the second consecutive day, as international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi prepared to consult with diplomats from the United States and Russia — the two nations that helped organize the peace talks.
     
    The opposition called Wednesday for creation of a transitional governing body that would oversee a ceasefire under U.N. monitoring. The plan was presented to Brahimi along with Syrian government negotiators.
     
    Opposition spokesman Louay Safi said there was no immediate Syrian government response to the proposal.
     
    Damascus has repeatedly said negotiations must focus first on fighting terrorism, and not creation of a transitional government.
     
    Thursday talks
     
    Originally scheduled for Friday, Brahimi's talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov and U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman have been moved up to Thursday.
     
    Earlier Wednesday, Russian media quoted Gatilov saying Russia will not support a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on humanitarian aid, saying it is "unacceptable" and crafted as a precursor for military intervention.
     
    U.S. President Barack Obama said in a joint news conference Tuesday with French President Francois Hollande that aside from Russia, there is "great unanimity" among the council on the resolution to give greater access to aid workers.
     
    "Secretary Kerry and others have delivered a very direct message to the Russians that they cannot say that they are concerned about the well-being of the Syrian people when there are starving civilians, and that it is not just the Syrians that are responsible; the Russians, as well, if they are blocking this kind of resolution," Obama said.
     
    The draft measure threatens sanctions against those who obstruct aid deliveries.
     
    Obama said at this point he does not think there is a military solution to the Syrian crisis, but that the situation continues to change and he will explore "every possible avenue."
     
    Russia is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, which each hold veto power. Russia and China have vetoed three previous resolutions that would have pressure President Bashar al-Assad's government.
     
    Also Tuesday, U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper described the situation in Syria as an "apocalyptic disaster" that has killed more than 134,000 people and created nearly 10 million refugees.
     
    Clapper told a U.S. Senate committee that U.S. intelligence expectations from the Syrian peace talks are "pretty modest.


    Photo Gallery: Latest Images from Syria

    • Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai (left), who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education, talks to Syrian refugee Mazoon Rakan, 16, about Mazoon's experience in the camp during her visit to the Zaatri refugee camp, in Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, Feb. 18, 2014. 
    • A Kurdish fighter from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) carries his son as he walks along a street, Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014. 
    • A man walks near a crater as smoke rises from a burning truck after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, al-Inzarat district, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014. 
    • Civil defense members and civilians extinguish the fire from a burning truck after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, al-Inzarat district, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014.
    • A civil defense worker puts out a fire after what activists said were explosive barrels thrown by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, al-Inzarat district, Aleppo, Feb. 18, 2014. 
    • Children run across a street to avoid snipers in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria Feb. 16, 2014.
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter runs for cover from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo, Feb. 16, 2014. 
    • A Free Syrian Army fighter rests with his weapon in the Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood of Aleppo, Feb. 16, 2014. 
    • A boy holds his baby sister, who survived what activists say was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo, Feb. 14, 2014.
    • Rescuers walk on the rubble of collapsed buildings after what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo, Feb. 14, 2014.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Dimecrap from: Ukraine
    February 12, 2014 2:03 PM
    "No progress at Syria talks", that is news??? That is a MOOT point.

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