Thursday, February 13, 2014

US, Russia to play key role in Syria peace talks

The two sides of the Syrian civil war are locking horns in Switzerland after talks aimed at achieving peace resumed on Monday.

The first round of talks between representatives of the Bashar al-Assad administration and the opposition went into recess at the end of January without result.

The new talks have again hit a wall, with both sides trading accusations. The anti-government side is anxious to bring about a transition of power. The government says Islamic extremists, who are gaining power among anti-government forces, must be dealt with first.

UN-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi reportedly discussed the deadlock with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov on Wednesday.

The 2 will also jointly hold talks with US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman on Thursday, one day earlier than planned.

Brahimi hopes the 2 powers will pressure the opposition and the Syrian government. The United States has some influence among anti-government forces, while Russia sides with the government.

One of the opposition representatives in Geneva has told NHK that the US and Russia must use their influence to bring about progress in the talks.