News / Middle East

No Breakthrough in Syria Talks, Brahimi Says

Syria Talks to Avoid Contentious Issuesi
X
January 28, 2014
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid