Sunday 17 December 2017

Syrian peace talks stalled over Assad

Syria Lakhdar Brahimi addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters
Syria Lakhdar Brahimi addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters

Richard Spencer, Geneva and Magdy Samaan, Cairo

Syrian peace talks in Geneva suffered their first breakdown yesterday after the two sides clashed over the possibility of "political transition" and the role of President Bashar al-Assad.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy, ended face-to-face talks in the morning after they became acrimonious, and separate meetings with each side later in the day made no real progress, he said.

Delegates from the regime of President Assad presented a five-point plan, which made no mention of him leaving or of the "transitional governing body" proposed by the so-called Geneva 1 Communique, which forms the basis of the negotiations and which the opposition insisted should be discussed.

The one agreement hailed so far, for women and children to be allowed to leave besieged areas of the city of Homs, also began to fall apart, with the opposition demanding aid be supplied to the enclave first.

The Homs deal was supposed to be one of several "confidence-building" humanitarian issues discussed before moving on to what the opposition said was the main issue of the negotiations – the transitional government. Instead, the International Committee of the Red Cross, which was supposed to supervise relief in Homs, said there had been no agreement on the ground. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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