Situation in Syria complex, peace talks will take time, says Brahimi

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The Baba Amro neighbourhood in Homs, Syria. [UN Photo/Atiqul Hassan]

The Syrian government has agreed to allow women and children to leave the besieged city of Homs, according to the joint UN and Arab League Special Envoy Lakdhar Brahimi.

Speaking at the end of the second day of face to face meetings in Geneva, Mr Brahimi said the Syrian government has requested to vet all men wishing to leave the city of Homs.

"The government is saying that women and children can leave old city of Homs whenever they wish. They are asking for the list of civilians so that they see that they are civilians and not armed people."

Mr Brahimi said an aid convoy was ready to deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians trapped in Homs, adding that armed groups in the city had pledged to provide safe passage.

“We hope convoys will enter tomorrow. The armed individuals in the old city of Homs told us and told others that they will not stop the convoys our UN colleagues in Damascus spoke with the governor of homs and the decision is not taken yet. To speak of tomorrow let us wait and see. Let us start and then well tell you what happened.”

Sundays meeting focused on the possible release of individuals detained by the government and the rebel groups. Mr Brahimi said the opposition has agreed to compile a list of its detainees.

"We have been appealing to the government to release women children and the aged that are in detention. The government has asked the opposition to give them a list of the people that are in detention in the hands of the various armed groups and the opposition has agreed that they will try and collect the lists that have been asked from those organisations they have authority over or contacts with."

The Special Envoy said the war in Syria has become extremely complex over time and that it was too early to predict how long the negotiations will last.

“We have gone into this with our eyes wide open. It's extremely difficult. Complicated. The situation in Syria has been going from bad to worse for a very long long time to bring Syria out of the ditch which it has fallen will take time. I am often accused of being too slow. But I think that being slow is a better way of going fast than precipitation if you run you may gain one hour and loose one week. So far I think that the process is continuing but it's very early days.”

The talks resume on Monday when the two sides are expected to begin discussions in line with the June 2012 Geneva communique which among others calls for the formation of a transitional authority with full executive powers.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 3:21

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