World News

Syria Peace Talks Set to End with No Progress

The latest round of peace talks involving Syria's government and opposition are wrapping up Friday, with no progress on ending the three-year civil war.

United Nations mediator Lakhdar Brahimi met first with the Syrian government delegation in Geneva. He was meeting separately with the opposition delegation.

Both sides continue to disagree over what to discuss at the Geneva talks that began in January, and it is not clear whether a third round will be held.

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 said Thursday after meeting diplomats from Russia and the U.S. that the talks are "not making much progress."



"Failure is always staring at us in the face. As far as the United Nations is concerned, we will certainly not leave one stone unturned if there is a possibility to move forward."





The opposition earlier this week proposed a transitional government, in a plan that avoided any mention of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Many viewed the move as a concession, since the opposition has insisted it would be satisfied with nothing short of President Assad's removal.

But Damascus refused to even discuss the plan, saying it was a distraction from discussing combating terrorism - what it views as the talks' main purpose.

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

Russia, Syria's main ally, is threatening a veto, calling it too one-sided against the Syrian government.

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

Amos briefed the Security Council on what she says is modest progress in getting help to civilians. This includes evacuating more than 1,400 people from the city of Homs.

A brief "humanitarian pause" last week gave women, children, and old men a chance to get out.

Amos said the Homs agreement shows what can be done. But she said it cannot be a model because aid workers came under fire.

Feature Story

FILE-In this Monday, May 19, 2014 file photo, Martha Mark, the mother of kidnapped school girl Monica Mark cries as she displays her photo, in the family house, in Chibok, Nigeria.

Multimedia Parents of Kidnapped Nigerian Girls Meet With President

More than 150 people took part in Tuesday's meeting in Abuja, including some of the girls who managed to escape after they were kidnapped by the Islamist militants More