Chief Syrian government negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari has refused to start direct talks with opposition representatives, as peace talks entered a third day in Geneva.
Jaafari said on March 16 he would not meet the lead negotiator for the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), Muhammad Alloush, face-to-face until he apologized for insisting that a political transition must start in Syria with President Bashar al-Assad's fall or death.
Speaking after meeting with UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, Jaafari accused Alloush of membership in a terrorist group.
Opposition leaders said on March 15 that they were ready to meet face-to-face with government negotiators.
Assad's future is a major sticking point at the negotiations on a political solution to end the five-year conflict in Syria.
The HNC has insisted that Assad step down before the start of a transitional period, which Damascus has ruled out.