GENEVA, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government and the country's opposition held direct talks on Saturday for the first time since they entered into a war three years ago, the UN said.
According to sources from the UN Information Service of Geneva, the two warring sides "are now meeting together with the Joint Special Representative (Lakhdar Brahimi) at the UN Office at Geneva."
It is the first time in three years that the two sides have direct dialogue, despite a rocky start of the Geneva II conference which began Wednesday in the lakeside Swiss city of Montreux.` "We came for that," said Bashar Ja'afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the UN. "We came with positive spirit and open mind to discuss everything with the other delegation. This is why we are here."
He noted that the core issues might not be discussed on the first day of direct talks.
"Today is about format," he said.
GENEVA, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Talks for a solution to end conflicts in Syria will continue this weekend, and neither the government delegation nor the opposition is going to withdraw, confirmed the United Nations (UN) mediator Lakhdar Brahimi here on Friday evening.
"I met the delegations of the opposition and the government separately yesterday and today, and tomorrow we expect, we have agreed, that we will meet in the same room," he said at a press conference. Full story
Geneva II conference shadowed by clashes, accusations
MONTREUX, Switzerland, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The international conference on Syria opened Wednesday was shadowed by clashes and accusations on the first day.
Bashar Jaafari, Permanent Representative of Syria to the United Nations, told journalists he was disappointed at the format of the ministerial meeting. Most of the 40 participants were "anti-Syria delegations", and their speeches "provocative and repetitive statements based on hatred towards the Syrian government", he said. Full story
Montreux meeting on Syria "small step", difficult work still ahead: Ban Ki-moon
MONTREUX, Switzerland, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The ministerial meeting in Montreux Wednesday is a small step for the resolution of conflict in Syria, while more difficult work is still ahead, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
"Past three years were filled with horror: the bombardment of Syria, the use of chemical weapons, terrorist attack, persecutions, disappearances, torture, killing and destruction," he told journalists to the Geneva II meeting. Full story
Crossfire seen between Syrian gov't, opposition in Geneva meeting
MONTREUX, Switzerland, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The first day of Geneva II conference saw clashes between Syria's government and the main political opposition, who sat down for talks Wednesday for the first time in three years.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem urged international community to "stop supporting armed opposition" in the country, noting that some countries attending the conference had "Syrian blood on their hands." Full story