Syrian foes face each other in Geneva

January 26, 2014 - 2:33:29 am

Syrian opposition chief negotiator Hadi al-Bahra (2nd R) and General Secretary of the Syrian National Council Badr Jamous (4ht R) arrive with the opposition delegation to attend a meeting at the "Geneva II" peace talks dedicated to the ongoing conflict in Syria, on January yesterday, in Geneva 

 

GENEVA: Syria’s civil war foes held their first face-to-face meeting yesterday, launching talks aimed at ending nearly three years of conflict which has killed 130,000 people and destabilised the wider 

Middle East.

Government and opposition delegates faced each other across a negotiating table at the United Nations headquarters for a total of three hours in the presence of mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, who described the meetings as “a good beginning”. While political differences which Brahimi says must form the core of their talks appear insurmountable for now, the two sides focused yesterday on a possible humanitarian deal aimed at building confidence in the negotiating process.

Brahimi said he hoped that authorities in Syria would approve access today for an aid convoy to reach the rebel-held centre of Homs — allowing it to be delivered tomorrow.

“We haven’t achieved much, but we are continuing,” he told a news conference after the talks concluded for the day. Anxious to avoid any possible confrontations, organisers ensured the two parties entered and left the negotiation room for the morning and afternoon sessions through separate doors. Brahimi said they faced each other during the meeting but addressed their remarks through him. REUTERS

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