Ice breaks in Syrian peace talks as two sides observe minute of silence
Ice breaks in Syrian peace talks as two sides observe minute of silence
News   /   Syrian Crisis

Opposing sides of Syria stood together to observe a minute of silence today in honor of the tens of thousands killed in the three-year conflict, a rare symbol of harmony a week into peace talks that have so fare yielded no compromise.

The first talks between Syrian Government and the opposition coalition have been mired in rhetoric since they began last Friday. The two sides took a first tentative step forward on Wednesday by agreeing to use the same 2012 roadmap as the basis of discussions to end the crisis, although they disagreed about how talks should proceed.

U.N mediator "Lakhdar Brahimi" said on Wednesday he does not expect to achieve anything substantive in the first round which ends on Friday, but hopes for more progress in a second round starting about a week later.

Diplomats said there had been no progress on humanitarian issues and that a U.N aid convoy has been waiting fruitlessly to enter Old City of Homs, where the United States says civilians are starving.

U.S and Russian officials, co-sponsors of the conference, are in Geneva advising the opposition and Syrian government delegations, their respective allies.

Syrian deputy foreign minister "Faisal al-Mekdad", one of the most influential players, was meeting with Russian officials later in the day in Geneva, diplomatic sources said.

While the opposition wants to start by addressing the question of the transitional governing body, the government says the first step is to discuss terrorism.

"The U.N. convoys are ready, we are waiting for clearances so we can provide this aid in a secure manner", Jens Laerke, spokesman of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told Reuters today.

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