At Syria Talks, Two Sides Don’t Even Sit Down With Each Other

January 24, 2014

The difficulty of negotiating a cease-fire or end to the civil war in Syria were underscored Friday by word from Geneva, Switzerland, that representatives from the two warring sides didn’t even sit down in the same room for talks about the talks.

Instead, NPR’s Deborah Amos said on Morning Edition, representatives from the opposition and from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime met separately — and not for long — with a U.N.-appointed mediator.

Although there were reports that the delegation representing Assad had threatened to leave Geneva, Deborah adds that diplomats from the U.S. and other nations brokering the discussions believe it was a negotiating tactic.

The key sticking point at this time, she says, is the opposition’s insistence on immediately including discussions about a transitional government in the talks. The Assad regime does not want to take up that issue. So Friday’s goal — to talk about the talks — wasn’t really fulfilled.

The day’s difficult discussions follow Wednesday’s opening session, which as we reported was marked by “accusations and acrimony.”

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