Syria peace talks enter crucial stage on Monday

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Palais des Nations Genevé

Syrian peace talks resumed in Geneva on Monday, with the government and opposition groups expected to start negotiations in line with the June 2012 Geneva communiqué, which calls for the establishment of a transitional authority with executive powers.

The two groups held face to face meetings on Saturday and Sunday under the chairmanship of the joint UN and Arab League Special Envoy Lakdhar Brahimi.

The weekend discussions centered on humanitarian access for the besieged city of Homs and the release of detainees held by both government and rebel forces.

Mr Brahimi said the situation in Syria has become extremely complex over time and that it was too early to predict how long the negotiations will last.

"This is a political negotiations. Everything we discuss is political. On the first day nobody made an opening statement. Only I did. I expect the two parties to make some general statements about the way forward. Our negotiations is not the main place where humanitarian issues are discussed. But I think we all felt and the two parties felt that you cannot start negotiations about Syria without having some discussions about the very very bad humanitarian situation that exists."

The United Nations estimates that over 100,000 people have been killed during the three year civil war in Syria and 9.5 million people displaced and in need of humanitarian support.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1:39″

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