13December2017

World Actuality

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Syrian foes set agenda at Geneva talks

Syria's civil war foes held their first meeting in the same room in the presence of international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi on Saturday after a day's delay and fierce recriminations.

 The talks in Geneva aimed to launch political negotiations on ending Syria's nearly three-year conflict, which has killed 130,000 people, displaced over third of Syria's 22 million population and destabilized the wider region.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad speaks to reporters  at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva on Saturday.

The two sides entered and left the room through separate doors. They faced each other silently during a meeting that lasted roughly half an hour as Brahimi outlined the agenda. The two sides then agreed to reconvene at 4 p.m. local time.

The first two days of the talks would focus on negotiations to lift sieges of civilians including in the central city of Homs, as well as local ceasefires and humanitarian access, but the core of the negotiations should be about resolving the conflict, Brahimi told the meeting.

"He made it very clear that this conference is a political conference and this negotiation is a political negotiation aimed at implementing Geneva 1. He also spoke about the urgent need to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people," said  member of opposition delegation Anas al-Abdah after the morning session broke up.

(CBC)