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Brief Meeting between Syrian Government, SNC in Geneva

Local Editor

Finally Syria’s government and the foreign-backed opposition met face-to-face on Saturday in Geneva.

After a false start on Friday, the two sides came together in the same room with mediator Lakhdar Brahimi at the UN’s headquarters in Europe, his spokeswoman Corinne Momal-Vanian said.

The brief meeting, during which Brahimi spoke while the two delegations listened, wrapped up in under half an hour. The two sides then broke up into separate rooms with Brahimi expected to shuttle between them.

The two sides were expected to be back in the same room on Saturday afternoon for a session the government says will be general, while the opposition says will focus on humanitarian issues.

Despite being so short, the meeting still marked progress after a difficult first day for the talks saw the delegation of Syrian government accuse the opposition of obstructing the negotiations and threatening to walk away.

Pulled together by the United Nations, Russia and the United States, the two sides are meeting for the first time, in the biggest diplomatic push yet to stem the bloodshed after nearly three years of deadly conflict in Syria.

Brahimi announced late Friday that the two sides had agreed to come together, admitting that the process was proving difficult.
“We never expected this to be easy,” Brahimi told reporters, adding that “I think the two parties understand what is at stake.”

Source: Al Manar

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