'I Am Very, Very Sorry,' Says Mediator as Syria Talks Stall

Second round hits impasse, and next steps are uncertain
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 15, 2014 8:56 AM CST
Syrian chief negotiator Bashar Jaafari, center, arrives for the talks in Geneva.   (Salvatore Di Nolfi)
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(Newser) – This is not what the main mediator in Syrian peace talks hoped to say today at the end of direct negotiations: "I am very, very sorry, and I apologize to the Syrian people that their hopes which were very, very high that something will happen here." The apology came from UN-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva after talks between the government of Bashar al-Assad and the opposition failed to break an impasse. The future of the negotiating process is now in doubt, with no date set for a third session.

Brahimi said he would consult with UN, US, and Russian officials about a way forward. He said a main sticking point was that the Syrian government refuses to discuss the possibility of a creating a "transitional governing body" for the nation, and that's a deal-breaker. Rather than another futile round of talks, "I think it is better that every side goes back and reflect and take their responsibility: Do they want this process to take place or not?"

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