Despite threats by the some delegates to walk out, Syria peace talks in Geneva are ongoing, a senior State Department official said Friday — though its unclear when the two sides will sit down.
"The Geneva talks have not been cancelled. JSR [Lakhdar] Brahimi has delayed the trilateral meeting to allow for more preparation," the official said, adding that there are still plans "to meet with the regime and the opposition together. We defer to JSR Brahimi on timing of the meeting."
The talks — and expectations for them — have faced a series of hurdles in recent weeks. Secretary of State John Kerry and other western officials have said the goal is to plan a transitional government without Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told the Associated Press that the regime's goal is to "fight terrorism," referring to opposition forces.
The State Department official stressed that they expected "a lot of ups and downs," but the most important thing is that the talks continue.
Brahimi met with the delegation for the Syrian government Friday morning. The Associated Press reports that al-Moallem told him that if "serious talks don't begin Saturday, the official Syrian delegation will have to leave because the other party is not serious or ready."
The two sides were supposed to have direct talks on Friday, but those plans were cancelled.