News / Middle East

Syria Talks Shift to Political Issues

Syria Talks Shift to Political Issuesi
X
January 26, 2014
Syrian government and opposition negotiators are to get down to the main topic of their talks Monday - a political settlement to the country's nearly three-year-long civil war. They started their talks over the weekend, discussing humanitarian access and prisoner releases. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Geneva.
TEXT SIZE - +
Al Pessin
— Syrian government and opposition negotiators are to get down to the main topic of their talks Monday, a political settlement to the country's nearly three-year-long civil war. 

United Nations and Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi reported some progress on a humanitarian issue in Sunday's talks.

“What we have been told by the government side is that women and children in besieged area in Old City [Homs] are welcome to leave immediately, and the other civilians are also welcome to leave but the government needs a list of their names first.”

Brahimi indicated he is not concerned about how the government might use such a list. He said there is also hope that an aid convoy can get into the city, but that is not confirmed. Brahimi said negotiators also discussed the possible release of detainees, but he reported no specific progress on that.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad gestures during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 26, 2014.Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad gestures during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 26, 2014.
x
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad gestures during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 26, 2014.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad gestures during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 26, 2014.
On Monday, the discussion is to turn to the core issue of these talks, the political future of Syria.  Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad said Sunday that President Bashar al-Assad is not going anywhere.

“If any opposition, when they want, I mean, a leader to step down, you will not find a single leader in the world," Makdad said. "If some people think we are coming here to give them the keys to Damascus, they are wrong.”

Makdad was defiant and emotional in an hour-long news conference.  He blamed all of Syria's problems on terrorists and foreigners.

There has been harsh rhetoric from both delegations, with each saying the other is insincere and illegitimate.

Opposition delegation member Monzer Akbik said progress on the Homs issue will be a test for the government, but the political talks will go ahead in any case.

“If there are no aid convoys entered Homs, then we consider that the other party is not serious about this process," Akbik said. "And if there's no progress in this area, we will still move on with the political talks tomorrow.”

The mediator expressed the hope that talking about humanitarian issues and prisoners first would make it easier, or at least possible, to talk about the more difficult issue of political transition.

Related video from VOA
Syria Talks Continuei
X
January 27, 2014
The Syrian government and opposition are due to meet face-to-face again Monday in Geneva for negotiations that mediator Lakhdar Brahimi says are 'continuing' and that he hopes will 'progress gradually.'

But Brahimi indicated Monday's talks will only be a beginning.

“On the first day nobody made an opening statement.  Only I did.  So I think tomorrow I expect the two parties to make some general statement about the way forward,” he said.

Brahimi said the process will be slow, but added that is not necessarily a bad thing because any progress needs to be solid.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
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.
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.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid