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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora