GENEVA, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Syrian government and opposition representatives sat together Saturday in a joint meeting with U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, tentatively initiating talks to end their three-year-old war.
According to sources from the U.N. Information Service of Geneva, the two sides "are now meeting together with the Joint Special Representative at the U.N. Office at Geneva."
The session gave rise to some hope after a rocky start to the international conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva II, which saw acrimonious exchanges between the two sides.
After the meeting, Monzer Akbik, spokesperson for the chairman of the main opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC), gave reporters some details.
"The idea was that we meet today in one room, the delegation representing the Syrian people, that is the national coalition, in front of the delegation representing Bashar Assad's Syrian government," Akbik said.
"It was a U-shaped table. The two delegations sat opposite to each other, with Lakhdar Brahimi in the middle. The only person who spoke in this session was Brahimi," he said.
Bashar Ja'afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the U.N., said of the negotiation: "We came for that."
Earlier, he had told media: "We came with positive spirit and open mind to discuss everything with the other delegation. This is why we are here."
He acknowledged the core issues would not be discussed on the first day of talks.
"Today is about format," he said.
Geneva II marks the first time representatives of both the government and opposition have entered direct negotiations since the onset of the conflict.
They were originally supposed to start direct talks on Friday. However, the process did not proceed as scheduled, and Brahimi spent two days mediating between the two parties.
Friday afternoon, SNC spokesman Louay Safi accused the government of lacking goodwill and attempting to run away from the political process.
But Ja'afari said: "They should have come to the conference yesterday. They didn't come. That means they have some kind of confusion somewhere at some level."
"If you want commitment, you should address to the other side," 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
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
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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.
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