Syrian peace talks pedal backwards

a13-iconThe BBC’s diplomatic correspondent, Bridget Kendall, writes: The second round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva is drawing to a close. But apart from the truce to let UN aid convoys into Homs – a deal done on the ground between the UN and Damascus – it’s hard to point to any concrete achievement.

No common ground has been established between the two rival delegations. And now the US and Russia are at loggerheads too, over a possible UN resolution to press for humanitarian access across Syria.

It feels as though the diplomacy over Syria is going backwards. At the Geneva talks, the two sides have been so deadlocked that they are not even sitting in the same room any more.

Two weeks ago they were at least airing opposing views across a table, and discussing concrete steps like possible ceasefires and prisoner exchanges. Now they can’t even agree on an agenda. Damascus insists talks must first tackle terrorism. The opposition says only in conjunction with political talks.

Both sides claim they want to keep going – neither wants to be blamed for the talks’ collapse. [Continue reading…]

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