Syrian foreign minister says Geneva talks ‘did not fail’

 17 Feb 2014 - 5:03


DAMASCUS: Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem denied yesterday that a second round of peace talks with the opposition had failed, insisting that “important progress” was made in Geneva.
“The second round did not fail, contrary to media analyses that have appeared and the reactions of the foreign ministers for France and Britain,” Muallem said as he headed back home from Switzerland.
The second round of peace talks between the Syrian regime and the opposition broke off on Saturday in Geneva, with no date set for a third round.
“The second round accomplished a very important point,” Muallem said, in statements carried by the state news agency SANA. “Syria approved the agenda proposed by mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, beginning with the first item, which is on violence and the fight against terrorism,” he said.
“The talks did not fail, we achieved what we have called for constantly, which is an agenda to be discussed in the Geneva meetings to come,” he added.
Muallem said it was “delusional” to imagine that a problem as complex as Syria could be solved quickly. And he accused Britain and France of being involved in a “conspiracy” against Syria, and said the United States “tried to create a very negative atmosphere for the talks in Geneva.”
The opposition has said that a new round that fails to discuss a transitional government “would be a waste of time.”