Friday, January 24, 2014

The two sides in the Syria talks are bringing the process close to collapse even before full sessions have formally started

    Friday, January 24, 2014   No comments

Syria's first peace talks were on the verge of collapsing on Friday before they had properly begun, with the opposition refusing to meet President Bashar al-Assad's delegation and the government threatening to bring its team home.
The opposition said it would not meet Assad's delegation unless it first agreed to sign up to a protocol calling for a transitional administration. The government rejected the demand outright and said its negotiators would return home unless serious talks began within a day.

"If no serious work sessions are held by (Saturday), the official Syrian delegation will leave Geneva due to the other side's lack of seriousness or preparedness," Syrian state television quoted Walid al-Moualem, the foreign minister, as saying.
Friday was meant to be the first time in three years of war that Assad's government and foes would negotiate face to face.
But plans were ditched at the last minute after the opposition said the government delegation must first sign up to a 2012 protocol, known as Geneva 1, that calls for an interim government to oversee a transition to a new political order.

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