Accessibility links

Breaking News

Syrian Peace Negoatiations In Doubt After End Of Second Round

International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi has ended direct talks between the Syrian government and opposition without a solution to the impasse in peace negotiations.

The February 15 round of talks broke off after less than half an hour and left the future of the negotiating process in doubt.

Brahimi told a news conference that the government had rejected his suggestion to begin a third round of talks by discussing first how to end the violence and then how to create a transitional governing body.

In conclusion, Brahimi said a third round would stand to gain very little.

"I have suggested that, it's not for the process, it's not good for Syria, that we come back for another round and fall in the same traps that we have been struggling with this week and for most of the first round," Brahimi said. "So I think it's better that every side goes back and reflects and takes the responsibility. Do they want this process to take place or not?"

Opposition delegates want the talks to focus on how to replace President Bashar al-Assad and create a transitional administration in Syria until elections can be conducted.

But government negotiators insist Assad will not step down from power and that talks must address “terrorism.”

Brahimi expressed his regrets for the impasse.

"I am very, very sorry, and I apologize to the Syrian people that their hopes which were very, very high that something will happen here," Brahimi said. "I think that the little that has been achieved in Homs" -- a reference to a partial evacuation of civilians -- "gave them even more hope that maybe this is the beginning of the coming out of this horrible crisis they are in."

Brahimi said he would now seek consultations with the United States and Russia, the main sponsors of the peace conference, and the United Nations.

Opposition spokesman Louay Safi concurred with Brahimi's conclusion, saying, "a third round without talking about transition would be a waste of time."

Meahwhile, activists said on February 15 that more than 140,000 people, over 7,000 of them children, have been killed in the Syrian conflict, whic started in March 2011.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters