News / Middle East

Syria Peace Talks Reach an Impasse

Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 14, 2014.
Louay Safi, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 14, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
Five days of peace talks aimed at ending Syria's civil war ended in a bitter impasse on Friday with Syrian government and opposition negotiators trading accusations over who was to blame for the stalemate at the UN-mediated talks in Geneva. 

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi met separately with the Syrian government and opposition delegations Friday.  When the meetings ended, the two parties held separate news conferences to vent frustrations with each other's negotiating positions.
 
The one issue that both delegations were able to agree upon was that the other party was responsible for the deadlock in the three-week old peace process.

Watch related video by VOA's Jeff Seldin

Syrian Talks Stagger, Progress Remains Elusivei
X
February 14, 2014 10:37 PM
Talks in Geneva aimed at ending Syria's nearly three-year-long civil war appear to be going nowhere, with signs the two countries which pushed for the talks -- the United States and Russia -- may be split over what comes next. VOA's Jeff Seldin reports.

"We have reached a point which we cannot overcome without the presence of another team [Syrian government delegation] who is willing to deal with a peaceful solution," Syrian opposition spokesman Louay Safi told reporters, adding that the five days of negotiations had come to a "dead end'' because of the government delegation's "belligerence.''

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad countered that the opposition came to the talks with an "unrealistic agenda.''

"I think those who do not give a chance for discussion and agreement on combating terrorism are definitely not part of the Syrian people," he said.

Safi told reporters his side had submitted a proposal, which gives a comprehensive view of what it believes should be present in a transitional government for Syria.
 
He said the plan touches on issues regarding a cease-fire, the release of prisoners, humanitarian access and other elements needed to create a political solution for ending the violence.  Unfortunately, he said the government side has not responded to this proposal.
 
"We came to these negotiations with a lot of doubts that we have a negotiating party, that the regime is serious about a political solution," Safi said.  "We put before the regime a proposal for such a solution that addresses the concerns of all Syrians. It is about five pages, 24 separate items and the regime would not even really acknowledge that proposal. And, so, that is quite, quite disappointing."
 
Safi said this is not a deal breaker, adding that his delegation will not withdraw from the negotiations.  But he urged both the United States and Russia, who are the main backers of the Geneva Conference, to put pressure on the Syrian regime to negotiate in good faith.
 
Syrian government position

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad addresses the media after a meeting at the Geneva Conference on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 14, 2014.Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad addresses the media after a meeting at the Geneva Conference on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 14, 2014.
x
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad addresses the media after a meeting at the Geneva Conference on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 14, 2014.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad addresses the media after a meeting at the Geneva Conference on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Feb. 14, 2014.
The government delegation put a different spin on things.  It agreed with the opposition that no progress toward a political solution has been made. But Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, Fayssal Mikdad blamed the Opposition's insistence on talking only about a transitional governing body for the deadlock.
 
"We are ready to discuss everything and we reaffirmed in all the meetings that we have held with you, we reaffirmed that we insist on starting with the ending of violence and the fighting of terrorism," he said. "We are willing to discuss the question of the transitional governing body once we have reached an agreement on fighting terrorism."
 
The two sides have not budged from these positions since the talks started.  The regime  refuses to discuss the transitional process because it would entail the removal from power of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

US, Russia weigh in

The United States,  which supports the rebels, and Russia, which supports the Syrian government, have both criticized the deadlock.

A senior U.S. official said Friday, Syria's government delegation has
been "stonewalling every step of the way'' in Geneva peace talks and Washington expects Russia to pressure them to engage seriously in the peace process.

"We hope and trust that because the Russians believe in a political solution, a diplomatic solution, they will urge the regime to engage in a serious and constructive way,'' the official told Reuters news agency. "The regime hasn't done so yet, that speaks for itself.''

Secretary of State John Kerry said during a visit to Beijing Friday the U.S. is concerned the Geneva talks are not producing the kind of discussion on a transition government that is needed. He said President Barack Obama has asked people in his administration to think about various options for Syria "that may or may not exist."

Brahimi determined to find solution

U.N. mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi normally briefs on the status of the talks, but on this occasion, decided to stay away from the two parties' public airing of grievances.
 
Thursday he told reporters that he sees failure staring him in the face, but insisted that the United Nations will not leave any stone unturned to find a solution to a conflict that has killed more than 130,000 people and displaced 9.5 million others.

Jeff Seldin in Washington contributed to this report, some information provided by Reuters

  • 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.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 15, 2014 12:07 AM
There is no Arab nation on earth that their people are free, no. All those people are suppressed and harassed by their own Government. Even in Russia you people are suffering, every year Mr. Putin will win the election. what kind of mess is that? America didn't start any Arab spring, it started in Tunisia Because the Arab people were suppressed and they said enough is enough. So many time you people of Russia try to revolt against Mr. Putin, and he crashed your. The true of the matter, the Arab people dont like each other. So therefore they dont like anybody. Why you people envy and jealous of America? Your live your life and leave us alone. Why you want to come to our Country? Why do you people get up from your bed 1am to stand on line for American visa? stay in your country. The fact is America is the greatest Country in the world. God Bless America


by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 14, 2014 10:53 PM
The people of Syria were suppressed by the Assad administration. Assad didn't treat his people right. Even before the war in Syria, Assad was brutal to his own people, that cause the people to fled Syria into exile. Syria is not Assad father farm or property. Let us be clear here, Syria is for the Syrian people.
There are lot of educated Syrian who are capable to run that country and even do better than that of Assad. And if Assad thinks Russia, Iran and including his defeated Army can face America, well sooner or later, he is about to find out.There is no nation on this earth right now as we speak that can defeat America. No Nation.
The world know Hizbollah rebels are fighting along side with Assad army, and still they cannot defeat the free Syrian Army. It is time for Assad to step down and leave.


by: Igor from: Russia
February 14, 2014 10:32 PM
Syrian people lived in peace an harmony for a long time. Then those western nations and some barbarous Arab ones have been instigating religion hatred and killings. And they have turned the beutiful country into a hell by supporting those terrorists to creat the so-called "Spring Revolution". Their purpose is nor democracy for Syria but to overthrow Syrian government and creat one that would be ready to obey their orders.


by: ali baba from: new york
February 14, 2014 8:29 PM
People in Syria were living peacefully for many years. then the rebel which are supporting by Arab rich country started a civil war which resulted for many tragedy . the western country want to end the conflict but they refuse to compromise and keep foreign fighter whom they do not have any business in Syria. they are not the Syrian citizen but they come to Syria to fight and slaughter innocent people especially Christian whom are the real victim of that war. they rape woman and they call it sexual jihad. the western nation has to top giving them arm .the United state stop giving them arm .and listen to their complaint about chemical weapons. the rebel has to leave the country but they enjoy destroying it.


by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
February 14, 2014 7:55 PM
Bashar Assad is the key factor to the Syrian people problem. In as much Assad refuses to step,there will be no peace.Assad is a dictator, and it is time that he go. Russia is the key problem to the Syrian people conflict. Russia knows very well that Assad is the problem to the Syrian people, This mad man uses chemical weapon on his own people, and they are still supporting him. It is time that Russia do the right time. We are calling on the UN and the EU to put pressure on the Assad Administration The UN, the EU and America need to come together and make a decision, and do what is in the interest of the Syrian people. and to hell with RUssia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
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 US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
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 Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
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 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 North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
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.

All About America

AppleAndroid