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Arab League, UN to revive Syria peace talks in Geneva
May 4, 2014, 5:07 am

Nearly 1,400 civilians were evacuated from Homs in January and February. Saturday's ceasefire will allow 1,000 rebel fighters and their family to leave [Xinhua]

Nearly 1,400 civilians were evacuated from Homs in January and February. Saturday’s ceasefire will allow 1,000 rebel fighters and their family to leave [Xinhua]


The Arab League and the United Nations agreed on Saturday to work together in a bid to revive efforts to end the Syrian conflict by resuming talks in Geneva between the warring sides.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon met with his counterpart Nabil Araby in Abu Dhabi and released a joint statement in which “they also both expressed their concern at the continuing violence and humanitarian situation in the country”.

In late January, delegations from a few opposition groups fighting to end the rule of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad met with his delegates in Geneva under the auspices of the US, Russia, the EU and the UN.

But within weeks, the talks had little to show for all the effort. A deal, however, was brokered to evacuate more than a thousand people from the besieged Syrian city of Homs, the third largest in the country.

According to UN sources, some 1,400 people were evacuated after a ceasefire between the two sides took hold.

But UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has repeatedly expressed frustration, and called on the Council to do more to pressure the warring sides to facilitate aid delivery and evacuation.

On Saturday, rebel forces said they had reached a deal with the government in Damascus to withdraw from all but one district in Homs during an imminent ceasefire.

About 1,000 fighters and their families are believed to be holed up in the ancient city.

Last week, there were fears of starvation renewed in the besieged Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus when aid delivery was halted due to security fears.

The supply of aid and materiel has been intermittent in the past three months.

Arab League/UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has previously cited complications arising from opposite US and Russian approaches to how the peace talks should be managed, and subsequent differing points of view during Security Council efforts to end the civil war.

Source: Agencies

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