News / Middle East

Future of Deadlocked Syria Talks in Question

Canon aims at rebel positions in strategic rebel-held Yabroud area, near Damascus, Feb. 15, 2014.
Canon aims at rebel positions in strategic rebel-held Yabroud area, near Damascus, Feb. 15, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi apologized to the Syrian people Saturday as the latest round of peace talks in Geneva between Syria's government and the opposition ended without agreement.

Brahimi's Saturday meetings with the two warring sides, which lasted only 27 minutes, was a last-ditch effort to rescue the deadlocked peace talks.

Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses media after meeting at Geneva Conference on Syria, UN European headquarters, Geneva, Feb. 15, 2014.Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses media after meeting at Geneva Conference on Syria, UN European headquarters, Geneva, Feb. 15, 2014.
x
Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses media after meeting at Geneva Conference on Syria, UN European headquarters, Geneva, Feb. 15, 2014.
Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses media after meeting at Geneva Conference on Syria, UN European headquarters, Geneva, Feb. 15, 2014.
Brahimi said the Syrian people were expecting the talks to result in a way out of their "horrible crises." Instead, he said, "these two rounds of talks have not done very much."

The Syrian government’s refusal to accept a compromise proposed by the U.N. mediator has put the future negotiations talks in question.

Brahimi says the two delegations agreed on an agenda for the next round, but not on how they would deal with the complex issues. He says the agenda reflects topics each side considers most important. It is not immediately clear when a third round of talks will talk place.

For the Damascus government, Brahimi says "combating terrorism" — the term Damascus uses when discussing rebels — is the most important issue. The Western-backed opposition says formation of a transitional government is crucial to ending the civil war.

The opposition argues that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad cannot be a part of any transitional government, and that he has lost all legitimacy as a national leader. Negotiators representing the Syrian government reject this view.

Addressing media after Saturday talks, opposition spokesman Louay Safi blamed what he calls the government's "belligerence," while Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad said the opposition has an "unrealistic agenda."

In an effort to break the stalemate, the U.N. mediator told reporters he suggested the next round of talks should begin with a day of discussions about combating terrorism, followed by a day of discussions about a transitional government in Damascus.

“Unfortunately, the government has refused, which raises the suspicion of the opposition that in fact the government does not want to discuss the TGB [Transitional Governing Body] at all," Brahimi told reporters. "In that case, I have suggested that it is not good for the process, it is not good for Syria that we come back for another round.”  

Brahimi says it makes no sense for the parties to return only to continue the same laborious discussions that lead nowhere. He says he told the delegations to go home, to reflect on what is at stake and to confer with their leaders on how to move ahead.

“I am very, very sorry and I apologize to the Syrian people that their hopes — which were very, very high that something will happen here," he said. "I think that the little that has been achieved in ... Homs gave them even more hope that maybe this is the beginning of the coming out of this horrible crisis they are in. I apologize to them, but on these two rounds [we] have not helped them very much.”

In the midst of this second round of talks, the United Nations succeeded in persuading the Syrian regime and rebels to abide by a ceasefire so food and medical aid could be brought to thousands of people in the besieged city of Homs.

In the meantime, the U.N. mediator will discuss the possible upcoming steps in the languishing peace process with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Brahimi also said he also will try to arrange meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

At some point, he said, he will discuss the crisis with the U.N. Security Council and the P-5 nuclear powers.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday continued discussions on a draft resolution that, among other things, expresses "grave alarm" over civilians trapped by Syrian forces.

U.S. President Barack Obama said late Friday a "diplomatic solution" must be found for Syria. The president said while he does not think a solution will be reached in the near future, steps will be taken to "apply more pressure to the Assad regime."

The president made the comments while meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah in California.

Russia is threatening a veto, calling it too one-sided against the Syrian government.

Aid distribution hampered

Chris Gunness, a spokesman for U.N. relief efforts in Syria, says the U.N. was again unable to distribute food and other aid items to the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus on Saturday. He said food distribution there has been stopped for more than a week, which is potentially life-threatening for the besieged civilians.

U.N. emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos says getting aid to desperate civilians in Syria should not be a matter of controversy or politics.

The U.N. says the three-year civil war has killed more than 136,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 16, 2014 5:13 AM
The Assad regime is the sole source of this violence in Syria. This man gas his own people with chemical weapon, He used the F16 to bomb his own people, This regime must go.It is time that Assad go. there were nothing good that came out of the meeting in Geneva.
The veteran politician Lakhdar Brahimi, could not bring both parties together on an agreement. Assad is greed for power, He has been in power for such a period of tome, it is time that he go. This man doesn't have no conscious, he doesn't love his people, nor his country. Why he just can leave? Why there have to be more killing? Why there have to be more blood shed of the innocent people? Why damascus have to be on fire? because Assad is greed for power. He doesn't love no body,but himself.
The Problem here, because it is not Israel that doing the killing of the Syrian people, it is ok. But had it been Israel, that is another story.
It is Assad killing the Syrian people,It is the Syrian killing the Syrian people. The bottom line is Assad must go.


by: ali baba from: new york
February 15, 2014 7:39 PM
no one want peace .they want war .the rebel leader enjoy the money that flow on their pocket. Bashar el Assad is full aware that once rebel take charge of the country all his people will be slaughter like a sheep .the conflict continue until the country is totally destroyed for the sake of Islam


by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
February 15, 2014 2:06 PM
Like I have said before Assad will only buy time till the end of his presidency and open up another face not to back down but run for president again ,the west should back the rebels and Lakhdar Brahimi should make it clear to the UN on the need to level up the military strength of the Rebels on the ground if Assad's government continues to make a fool of the Geneva 2 conference or else we r in for another diplomatic time wasting and continues lost of life,the weaker the rebels grow the stronger terrorist gets in syria.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid