Face to face meeting in doubt for Syrian rivals at peace talks

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Face to face meeting in doubt for Syrian rivals at peace talks

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The UN and Arab League’s special representative to Syria will make a fresh effort on Friday to bring all sides round the table for peace talks in Geneva.

Lakhdar Brahimi is expected to shuttle between Syrian government figures and opposition leaders, some of whom remain deeply divided about ways to end the deadly conflict.

The first day of talks on Wednesday was dominated by fierce rhetoric from President Bashar al-Assad’s government and its foes, with each accusing the other of atrocities and showing no sign of compromise.

There were, however, positive signs from all sides that some concessions may be agreed to allow prisoner exchanges and establish aid corridors.

Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told euronews that there is a desperate need to ease the plight of millions of people on the ground.

“It’s not so difficult to define what needs to be done,” he said.

“It’s a matter of goodwill, leadership and initiative – of those political leaders who really have an influence in the way things can develop in relation to the Syria crisis.”

Officials hope they can salvage the process by starting with more modest, practical measures and avoid talk of removing President Bashar al-Assad, which has proved divisive.