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Syria peace talks stalled – UN envoy
February 15, 2014, 5:25 pm

UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the two sides in the Syrian Civil War are unable to bridge their differences [Xinhua]

UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the two sides in the Syrian Civil War are unable to bridge their differences [Xinhua]


Disagreements on how to end the bloody Syrian civil war have stalled peace talks between the Damascus government and a coalition of rebel groups, with almost no progress reported since the Geneva-II Conference began in January.

UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the government of Bashar Al-Assad refused to discuss the formation of a transitional government unless “terrorism” was first addressed.

Syria says it has been fighting a regional war against extremist terrorism.

The peace talks have also faced complications as sponsors Russia and the US appear to have moved further apart on how to end the civil war. On Thursday, Russia called a US draft resolution in the UN Security Council “unworkable” and instead proposed an alternative version.

“We have introduced to the UN Security Council … a draft document on anti-terrorism efforts in Syria,” said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“This document is based on fundamental principles approved by the UN and other [international] bodies, and reflects the call from G8 leaders to the Syrian opposition and government to unite and eradicate terrorism in Syria,” said Lavrov.

Meanwhile, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly I. Churkin on Thursday said the two drafts are not “too far apart”.

Meanwhile, UN and relief agencies working to evacuate civilians from the line of fire and/or deliver aid say they are growing increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of their operations.

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.

According to UN sources, some 1,400 people have been evacuated from the besieged city of Homs after a ceasefire between the two sides took hold.

A Homs city official told Reuters that 181 of male evacuees detained by security forces for questioning were later released.

Last week, a Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) relief convoy came under fire, but still managed to deliver aid to civilians trapped in the besieged city of Homs.

“Although the team was shelled and fired upon we managed to deliver 250 food parcels (and) 190 hygiene kits and chronic disease medicines,” a SARC statement said.

The attack on the aid convoy marred the third day of a UN-led relief operation to evacuate civilians who have been caught in the crossfire as the Syrian military and the government pursues rebel factions there.

Both sides blamed each other.

Source: Agencies

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