UN 'sorry' as Syria talks break off in failure

2014-02-15 18:11

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Geneva - The UN's Syria envoy said he was "very, very sorry" on Saturday as peace talks in Geneva broke off with no progress made and no date set for a third round.

Just weeks after the warring parties sat down for the first time to seek a political settlement to the three-year conflict, a second round ended in acrimony.

"I'm very, very sorry," UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva as he announced the break-off in talks.

"I think it is better that every side goes back and reflects, and takes their responsibility: do they want this process to continue or not?"

With no guarantee the parties will return to the negotiating table, the death toll continued to mount in Syria where more than 136 000 have died and millions have been driven from their homes.

A monitoring group said this week more than 5 000 people had been killed since the talks began on 22 January.

And the UN raised the alarm over Syrian air raids in the Qalamun mountains near the Lebanese border, as thousands fled the opposition-held town of Yabrud amid fears of a ground assault.

In Geneva, the rivals have seemed to agree on only one thing this week: that the negotiations were stalled.

"The regime is not serious... I'm very sorry to say there is nothing positive we can take from this," opposition spokesperson Louay Safi told reporters after the talks.

Third round

The head of the regime's negotiating team Bashar Jaafari described the other side as "amateurs", blaming the opposition's backer the United States for "trying its best to undermine the whole process".

'I very much hope there will be a third round'

Brahimi noted that the two sides at least had agreed on an agenda for future talks - if they take place - something they failed to do throughout the week.

"I very much hope there will be a third round," Brahimi said.

The opposition says the focus must be on creating a transitional government, without President Bashar Assad.

The regime representatives have insisted Assad's position is non-negotiable and refused to discuss anything beyond the "terrorism" it blames on its opponents and their foreign backers.

Brahimi said if the sides returned, they would discuss violence and terrorism first, then the transitional governing body (TGB), followed by national institutions and finally national reconciliation and national debate.

However, he said the regime side baulked at his suggestion they spend one day on violence and the next on political transition "which raises the suspicion of the opposition that the government doesn't want to discuss TGB at all".

Safi of the opposition confirmed that suspicion, stressing that "a third round without talking about transition would be a waste of time".

Jaafari denied his delegation had blocked the process, accusing the opposition of "misleading public opinion" and insisting that the regime "will be back".

"We don't have an impasse," he said.

Brahimi said a break in the talks was needed, calling on "the government side in particular to reassure the other side" that the issue of political transition will be discussed seriously.

"At least we have agreed on an agenda. But we also have to agree on how we tackle that agenda," he said, to avoid falling into "the same traps that we have been struggling with this week and most of the first round".

'Talks for show make no sense'

The veteran peacemaker said he would soon travel to New York to report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and would be in touch with the two Syrian delegations "in the not-too-distant future".

Brahimi said the situation would also be discussed with the United States and Russia, a key ally of Damascus.

He said he would meet with the two countries that instigated the so-called Geneva II peace process, "hopefully" through meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Washington has voiced deep frustration at the stalemate, and chastised Moscow for not doing enough to push its ally to engage "seriously" in the process.

"Talks for show make no sense," a senior US official said on Friday.

US President Barack Obama vowed on Friday to push the regime harder.

"There will be some intermediate steps that we can take to apply more pressure to the Assad regime," he said after talks with Jordanian King Abdullah II in California, but did not specify what such steps might be.

The ongoing evacuation of civilians from besieged rebel-held areas of Homs - agreed upon in the first round seen as the only tangible result so far of the Geneva II talks - has been hailed as a relative success.

Brahimi said on Saturday the Homs agreement may have sparked hope in Syria that the talks could mark the beginning of the end "of this horrible crisis they are in."

"I apologise to them that these two rounds have not helped them very much," he said.

Read more on:    un  |  syria  |  syria coflict
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The virtual world can be very tempting to escape into but focus on also being present and keeping your feet anchored in reality....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.