Syria talks end with insults but UN mediator claims 'some common ground'

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Syria talks end with insults but UN mediator claims 'some common ground'

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The first round of week-long Syria peace talks has closed with no progress towards ending the civil war and recriminations from both sides.

UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said he had seen some common ground but still admitted the gap between the Syrian government and opposition delegations remained wide.

He listed ten points on which he felt there had been agreement but the discussions still boiled down to the opposition wanting to talk about removing President Assad from power and the government about fighting terrorism.

Walid al-Moallem, Syrian Foreign Minister:

“We have not reached tangible results during this week, the week of dialogue, and that is because of two reasons. First of all, the lack of maturity and seriousness on the other side and the threat to implode the conference.”

Both blamed each other for the lack of progress.

“The regime clearly doesn’t want a political solution, it doesn’t want to move a step forward to end the Syrian suffering. We will not be sitting here endlessly. There will be a point when it will become clear if the regime is willing to transfer power, which is in the interest of the country,” said Louay Safi, speaking for the Syrian National Coalition.

Outside the talks venue in Geneva supporters from both camps were equally divided.

In theory the second round starts on February 10. The opposition said they would be there, the Syrian government has yet to commit.