Syrian govt, opposition face to face for 1st time at UN - InfoNews

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Syrian govt, opposition face to face for 1st time at UN

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi listens during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. After three days of escalating rhetoric _ and a day spent assiduously avoiding contact within the United Nations _ the two sides will meet “in the same room,” said the U.N. mediator trying to forge an end to the civil war _ or at least a measure of common ground to stem a civil war that has left 130,000 people dead. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
January 25, 2014 - 2:04 AM

GENEVA - The first face to face meeting between Syria's government and the opposition hoping to overthrow Bashar Assad has started.

After tense days spent avoiding each other and meeting separately with a U.N. mediator, Assad's handpicked delegation and representatives of the Syrian National Coalition were gathering in the same room Saturday in hopes of ultimately finding a path out of the civil war.

The two sides were distant going into the meeting, with the Damascus delegation denying it had accepted the premise of a transitional leadership, and the opposition saying it would accept nothing less.

"We'll try our best to make it as successful as possible," said Anas al-Abdeh, a member of the Syrian National Coalition's negotiating team.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mikdad said Saturday would focus on "modest ideas."

News from © The Associated Press, 2014
The Associated Press

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