Syria Peace Talks On The Rocks

The country’s Foreign minister threatened to walk out if “serious talks” don’t start Saturday.

Women shout slogans during a demonstration gathering activists, including Syrians living in Turkey, opposed to Syria's regime of President Bashar al-Assad after the Friday prayers on July 29, 2011 in front of the Syrian consulate in Istanbul. Assad's forces have killed at least 1,486 civilians since the anti-regime uprising began in mid-March, according to rights groups. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC (Photo credit should read BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
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Jordain Carney
Jan. 24, 2014, 5:17 a.m.

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.


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