News / Middle East

Deadlocks Remain as Syria Talks Break For Day

U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Jan. 28, 2014.
U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Jan. 28, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
Syrian peace negotiations broke off earlier than planned Tuesday amid mutual accusations and what the opposition delegation said were serious differences over the goal of the talks.

United Nations mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said the talks remain deadlocked on crucial political and humanitarian issues
 
Unlike previous days, Syrian government and opposition delegates held only one morning session.Brahimi said it was his decision to call off the afternoon meeting.  He said that the two sides intend to continue discussions until Friday as originally planned.
 
“So, nobody is walking out," he said. "Nobody is running away…We have discussed quite a number of things.  So, you know, we have not achieved any breakthrough.  But, we are still at it and this is good enough as far as I’m concerned.” 
 
It has taken the United Nations, United States, Russia and the European Union many months to get the Syrian government and rebels to come to the negotiating table.
 
Although the two sides disagree on how to achieve peace for their war-torn country, they continue to sit at the same table. 

Brahimi said the talks are not easy and he decided to cancel the Tuesday afternoon session so the parties could better prepare for Wednesday’s meeting.
 
During the morning session, he says the opposition presented its vision on how to implement the Geneva 1 Declaration, which was agreed to in June 2012.  He sais the government did not present its view. 
 
The Geneva 1 Declaration calls for the establishment of a transitional government in Syria.

The rebels consider Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to be illegitimate and do not want him included in a future transfer of power. Government representatives reject attempts to remove the Syrian president.
 
Besides the political impasse, Brahimi said no agreement has been reached on the critical issue of bringing desperately needed aid to the besieged people of Homs.
 
“The convoy is ready and still waiting to enter," he said. "The authorization has not been given yet.  We have not given up on that.  I am afraid that is all I can say for the moment.” 
 
World Food Program spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs said WFP has trucks on standby to deliver food for trapped families in Homs if access is granted.  She said humanitarian deliveries to the old city have been impossible since the siege of the city began over one year ago.
 
“Once all parties on the ground allow the interagency convoy to proceed, WFP will deliver 500 family rations, 500 bags of wheat flour, enough for 2,500 people for one month,” she said.

Byrs said WFP also plans to send 100 boxes of a specialized nutrition product, which helps to treat stunting and acute malnutrition in children.

Besides the critical situation in Homs, she said WFP is increasingly concerned about hundreds of thousands of people living in hard-to-reach areas across Syria with no access to food assistance.

An opposition spokesman said the SNC is willing to lift a siege on three pro-government villages in the north of the country as part of a wider agreement to relieve besieged towns on both sides.

But Louay al-Safi said Assad's government has not agreed to lift the siege on the rebel-held Old City of Homs, seen as crucial for the success of any deal.

The governor of Homs province (Talal Barrazi) said Tuesday a United Nations official is contacting opposition fighters in besieged neighborhoods of the city to allow the evacuation of civilians.

Syria's conflict began in March 2011 as peaceful protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad before spiraling into a civil war that the U.N. says has killed well over 100,000 people and forced nearly 9 million from their homes.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid