World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Syria: First Face-To-Face Talks Off To a 'Good' Start

Syria: First Face-To-Face Talks Off To a 'Good' Start, UN-Arab League Envoy Says

New York, Jan 25 2014 - Representatives of the Syrian Government and opposition groups today discussed humanitarian issues and tomorrow will focus on release of prisoners and kidnapped victims, the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States today said following the opposing sides' first ever meeting at a negotiating table.

"We haven't achieved much, but we are continuing," Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

"The situation is extremely complex, it is a very difficult situation, and we are moving not in steps but even in half-steps," the joint envoy noted after two sessions with both groups.

He said getting an aid convoy into the city of Homs topped the agenda of today's afternoon meeting which lasted roughly two hours.

"We hope that ultimately that some convoy of aid, goods, both food and non-food items, and some medical supplies will be allowed to go into the old city," Mr. Brahimi told reporters at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The governor of Homs, who has been speaking to the UN team in Damascus, is expected to meet with his security advisor tomorrow about the convoy, the joint envoy added, "if it's allowed tomorrow, maybe it will go in on Monday".

Well over 100,000 people have been killed and nearly 9 million others driven from their homes since the conflict erupted in March 2011 between the Government and various groups seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad.

More than 9.3 million people within the country need humanitarian aid, the UN has said, with over 2.5 million of them living in areas where access is seriously constrained or non-existent, such as Homs.

"If we achieve success on Homs, we hope that this would be the beginning for us to discuss other issues," he told the journalists.

Today was the first time that both sides met in the same room where "one delegation is on the left, one is on the right, and they face one another".

No direct words have been exchanged but the two sides talk through Mr. Brahimi with one another.

"This is what happens in civilised discussions," he said, where sides address each other through a chairperson. "I think it's a good beginning."

The goal of the conference is to achieve a political solution to the three-year-long conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the two sides for the full implementation of the Geneva communiqué, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on 30 June 2012, and since endorsed by the UN Security Council.

The communiqué lays out key steps in a process to end the violence. Among others, it calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.

Mr. Brahimi said he expects to resume talks with both sides again tomorrow morning to discuss "prisoners and people that have been kidnapped and see if something can be done to secure the freedom of not all but at least some people who have been deprived of their freedom".

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Health Agency Responds To Ebola Spike

UN health agency responds to Ebola spike by deploying team on border of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau More>>

UN Casts Israel As World's Worst Violator Of Health Rights

Israel's army team of medics recently treated 1,600 victims of the Nepal earthquake. More>>

W Thousands Flee Syria’s Besieged Historic City Of Palmyra

As thousands flee Syria’s besieged historic city of Palmyra, UN refugee agency readies response plan More>>

UN Agency To Halt Housing Allowance For Palestine Refugees

Lack of funds forces UNRWA to suspend cash assistance for housing for Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon. Photo: UNRWA/Shafiq Fahed More>>


Bangkok: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphophia

BMA, UN, embassy representatives, civil society and artists stand united with LGBTI Thais on International Day against Transphobia, Homophobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre More>>

Displaced Iraqis Face Difficulties As Fighting Continues

UNHCR is concerned about the processing arrangements in place at the Bzabz bridge – a series of pontoons across the Euphrates River which marks the boundary between Anbar province and the capital, Baghdad. Photo: UNHCR/G. Ohara More>>

UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing Of Bangladeshi Blogger

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz The head of the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom worldwide today voiced ... More>>

Philadelphia: Train Crash

Five people have been confirmed dead and more than 136 people injured after an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia today at 9.20pm local time.More>>

UN News: Alarming Surge In Bay Of Bengal Crossings

The number of irregular migrants crossing the Bay of Bengal has almost doubled over the past year amid a dangerous uptick in human smuggling and trafficking across the region, according to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news