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

 

Israel’s Demolition Of Palestinian Homes

Makarim Wibisono, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories. UN Photo/Violaine Martin More>>

ALSO:

  • Palestinian Centre For Human Rights - Israeli Settlers Continue Their Attacks against Palestinians
  • Tribespeople Call On WWF To Stop Funding Abuse

    This Baka man from Ndongo village reported that he was severely beaten by anti-poaching squads on two occasions. His neighbors have appealed to WWF to stop funding such abuses. More>>

    Ebola: UN Crisis Response Mission Opens New Office In Mali

    Workers build an enclosure at the Mayagba Ebola community care centre construction site in Bombali District, which is among the areas worst affected by the disease in Sierra Leone. Photo: UNICEF/John James More>>

    ALSO:

    UNESCO Chief Denounces Murder Of Somali Radio Journalist

    Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz More>>

    Palestinian Refugees From Syria Face Worsening Situation

    Palestinian women at a UNRWA distribution centre in the Jaramana refugee camp, Damascus, Syria. Photo: UNRWA/Carole Alfarah More>>

    ALSO:

    Greece Risks Prolonged Social Crisis

    Greece’s severe financial crisis has bred social unrest and intolerance of the nearly one million irregular migrants living in the country (October 2012). Photo: IRIN/Kristy Siegfried More>>

    Madagascar: Warning Of ‘rapid’ Spread Of Plague In Capital

    Ny Hantra Andriatsifasoa survived the bubonic plague after being infected in Madagascar in 2011. Photo: IRIN/Tiana Randriaharimalala More>>

    New Bird Flu Strain In Europe Threatens Poultry Sector

    24 November 2014 – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO ) today warned that a new bird flu strain detected in Europe poses a significant threat to the poultry sector, especially in low-resourced countries situated along ... More>>


    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news