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Syria peace talks in doubt after 6th day in Geneva

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 15, 2014 at 10:25 a.m.

GENEVA — U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi ended direct talks between the Syrian government and opposition Saturday without finding a way of breaking the impasse in peace talks.

Saturday's talks, which lasted less than half an hour, left the future of the negotiating process in doubt and no date was set for a third session.

Brahimi told a news conference that both sides agreed that the agenda for the next round should focus on four points: ending the violence and terrorism, creating a transitional governing body, building national institutions, and reconciliation.

To avoid losing another week or more before resuming discussions, Brahimi said he proposed that the first day should be reserved for talks on ending violence and combating terrorism, the main thrust of the government's stance, and the second for talking about how to create a transitional body, as the opposition and Western powers insist.

"Unfortunately the government has refused, which raises the suspicion of the opposition that in fact the government doesn't want to discuss the TGB (transitional governing body) at all," Brahimi said.

"In that case, I have suggested that it's not good for the process, it's not good for Syria that we come back for another round and fall in the same trap that we have been struggling with this week and most of the first round," he said. "So 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?"

Brahimi said he would consult with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about a way forward.

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