UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said Wednesday that he does not expect to achieve “anything substantive” during the first round of Syria peace talks, which are due to wrap up on Friday, but added that he hoped the second round would be more productive.
Delegates from both the Syrian government and the opposition gathered in Switzerland last week for a first round of negotiations aimed at finding a political solution to the country’s nearly three-year-old conflict, which has claimed an estimated 130,000 lives and displaced millions of people.
Brahimi, who met with both sides earlier in the day for preliminary talks on a 2012 proposal to set up a transitional governing body, was straightforward about the progress made so far.
“To be blunt, I do not expect that we will achieve anything substantive. I am very happy that we are still talking, but the ice is breaking slowly, but it is breaking,” Brahimi said.
He voiced hopes that Russia and the United States would exert greater influence over the two sides to bridge “quite large” gaps, adding that the United Nations and Syria’s government were still negotiating access for aid to the rebel-held city of Homs.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-01-29