Slow but modest gains made in Syrian peace talks

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Lakhdar Brahimi, Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria during a press conference. 29 January 2014. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

Syrian government and oppositon groups ended their first round of peace talks in Geneva on Friday with slow but modest progress made, according to the Joint UN and Arab league Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

He said although both sides had engaged in an acceptable manner, the gap between them remains wide.

Mr Brahimi said the lack of progress in the peace talks was an added disappointment to the millions of Syrians who have been displaced, but added that the war had dropped Syria into an abyss that will require patience and time to overcome.

He said after nearly ten days of negotiations, both sides are committed to discussing the full implementation of the Geneva communiqué to achieve a political solution in Syria.

“The gaps between the sides remain wide, there is no use pretending otherwise. Nevertheless, during our discussions, I observed a little bit of common ground – perhaps more than the two sides realize or recognize. Both sides know that, to implement the Geneva Communique, they must reach agreement on a permanent and comprehensive end to the conflict and on the establishment of a Transitional Governing Body with full executive powers, as well as on subsequent steps. Chief amongst them; national dialogue, constitutional review, and elections. Both sides understand that the conflict in their country has imposed immense and unacceptable suffering on the Syrian people. Both sides recognize the urgent need to bring the violence to an end. We hope they will also redouble their efforts to seek early opportunities to reduce the level of violence on the ground. For all the Syrians trapped in this war, our work here will seem far too slow. I understand that. But we are trying to overcome the very difficult issues that have led to this war, and this unfortunately takes time.”

The delegations are expected back in Geneva on 10 February to commence the next round of peace talks.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 2’19″

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