News / Middle East

No Breakthrough in Syria Talks, Brahimi Says

Syria Talks to Avoid Contentious Issuesi
X
January 28, 2014 7:24 AM
United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi says Syria peace talks will continue in Geneva Tuesday, but the contentious issue of creating a transitional government will be put aside in order to focus on topics of possible agreement.
Syria Talks to Avoid Contentious Issues
Lisa Schlein
International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said Syrian government and opposition delegates will begin tackling the thorny issue of a possible transitional government when the Syrian peace talks resume on Tuesday.

Brahimi, addressing a news conference in Geneva after meeting both sides, said that there was an apparent will to continue the negotiations to end the nearly three-year war.

Still, the Syrian government and opposition remain deeply divided on all issues.

Earlier in the day, opposition spokesman Munther Akbeik said his delegation had come to talk about a transfer of power and a new interim government but that President Bashar al-Assad's delegation refused to discuss the subjects.

He said Brahimi and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the opposition that the goal of the conference was to discuss a political transition in Syria but that the Assad government was ignoring the agenda, as set forth in the invitation to attend.

Syrian government media advisor Boutheina Sha'aban told the press, however, that it would be impossible to broker any agreement unless the opposition discussed the subject of foreign fighters in Syria and terrorism.
“There are 83 countries which are sending foreign fighters to Syria. What we are saying-and that's what the Geneva I conference said-is 'let us stop the fighting, stop the terrorism and launch a political process where Syrians decide the future of Syria," he stated.

The possible future role of Assad.is a topic to be discussed within the framework of the Geneva 1 Declaration. The declaration calls for the formation of a transitional government. 

The Western-backed opposition group said that Assad has lost all legitimacy and should not be included in any furture government.  The Syrian government rejects any attempts to remove Assad.
 
Brahimi said he does not know how to bridge this gap.  He said the best he can hope for is to get the two opposing factions to start the debate on the transitional process when they resume discussions Tuesday.
 
“Then we are going to decide with them how we are going to proceed in discussing its many elements," he said. "One of them is, of course, the composition of the governing body with full executive powers. But we will definitely not start with that.  It is probably the most complicated subject.” 
 
Little progress 

After four days of negotiations, Brahimi acknowledged little progress has been made toward finding a solution to the conflict which has gone on for nearly three years with tremendous loss of life.
 
He said the peace talks mainly have been dealing with confidence building measures aimed at developing a better atmosphere between the two parties.  But these, he said, have made no headway.  

Brahimi said thatt the Syrian parties were still discussing how women and children can leave the beseiged city of Homs, but that there had been no decision on allowing access for an aid convoy.

“There was an agreement by the government that women and children can come out of the old city in Homs," he said. "I think they are still discussing how that should be done.  I think the government is willing to make that happen.

"But it is not easy because there are snipers and there are all sorts of problems," he said. "The convoy of food and non-food items and medical supplies—there is no decision yet to let them in.” 
 
Homs is not the only city in Syria that is under siege.

Brahimi said women, children and men are suffering from lack of food, medical care and other essential supplies in other areas under the control of the government or rebels.  He said he is asking the two parties to open up these areas so aid can get to the people in need.

Riad Kahwaji, who heads the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said Western powers appear to be focusing on the aid issue as the only area where agreement can be reached.

“Geneva II is just another symbolic gesture by the international community to show they are doing something to help salvage the situation in Syria. Unfortunately, we are still lacking any genuine moves to pressure both sides on the ground to make concessions to bring about tangible results,” said Kahwaji.

State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez criticized the Syrian government for refusing to allow an aid convoy into Homs, insisting that the “situation (there) is desperate and people are starving.” He called the government's offer to evacuate the city a “despicable policy” of “kneel or starve.”

VOA's Edward Yeranian contributed to this report from Cairo.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nicholas Akuamoah-Boateng from: Kumasi-Ghana
January 28, 2014 12:43 AM
There shouldn't be a breakthrough except the murderers (Assad &co) accept resignation and prosecution.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs