Senior Correspondent, Syria
Khaled's Feed
Feb 10, 2014

Second round of Syria talks makes faltering start

GENEVA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – A second round of Syria peace talks got off to a shaky start on Monday with the international mediator meeting the two sides separately after violations of a local ceasefire and an Islamist offensive set back his efforts.

Ahead of the talks, mediator Lakhdar Brahimi told delegates to commit first to discussing both ending the fighting and setting up a transitional government. The government side said combating “terrorism” – its catchall term for the revolt – should be agreed first.

Feb 10, 2014

Exclusive: Brahimi to meet Syria sides separately – document

GENEVA (Reuters) – Mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will meet representatives of the warring sides in Syria separately for the first few days of a second round of talks that began on Monday, after the breaking of a local ceasefire set back peace efforts.

In a letter reviewed by Reuters on Monday, Brahimi increased pressure on the two sides to show willingness in a peace process sponsored by Moscow and Washington that made no progress in the first round.

Feb 10, 2014

Exclusive: Brahimi to meet Syria sides separately, demands peace commitment – document

GENEVA (Reuters) – Mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will meet representatives of the warring sides in Syria separately for the first few days of a second round of talks that began on Monday, after the breaking of a local ceasefire set back peace efforts.

In a letter reviewed by Reuters on Monday, Brahimi increased pressure on the two sides to show willingness in a peace process sponsored by Moscow and Washington that made no progress in the first round.

Feb 3, 2014

Brahimi’s Palestinian deputy Kidwa leaves Syria talks team

GENEVA (Reuters) – Nasser al-Kidwa, deputy head of the international team running the Syria peace talks, has been removed from his job, diplomatic sources said on Monday, after repeated calls from the Syrian government for his dismissal.

“He has been sacked,” one of the diplomats said.

Diplomats said Damascus, fighting an almost three-year-old uprising, had long objected to Kidwa, an ex-Palestinian foreign minister and nephew of Yasser Arafat, who was nominated by the Arab League and handled the opposition brief in the talks.

Feb 3, 2014

Brahimi’s deputy leaves Syria talks team

GENEVA (Reuters) – Deputy mediator Nasser al-Kidwa has left the team running peace talks aimed at ending the war in Syria, diplomatic sources said on Monday, after repeated calls from the Syrian government for him to be removed.

“He has been sacked,” one of the diplomats said.

The United Nations confirmed his departure and said he had informed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of his intention to leave his post as deputy to international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, effective this week.

Feb 1, 2014

Syria talks end first round, government not committed to return

GENEVA (Reuters) – A contentious week-long first round of Syrian peace talks ended on Friday with no progress towards ending the civil war and the government delegation unable to say whether it will return for the next round in 10 days.

Darkening the atmosphere further, the United States and Russia clashed over the pace of Syria’s handover of chemical arms for destruction. Washington accused Damascus of foot-dragging that put the plan weeks behind schedule, and Moscow – President Bashar al-Assad’s big power ally – rejected this.

Jan 31, 2014

Syria peace talks take a break as rivals dig in

GENEVA (Reuters) – A first round of peace talks on Syria wraps up Friday with both sides in entrenched positions and the U.N. mediator expressing frustration that it had not even been possible to get agreement for an aid convoy to enter the besieged city of Homs.

After a week of talks at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, the opposing sides in Syria’s civil war were still stuck on the question of how to proceed.

Jan 30, 2014

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

GENEVA (Reuters) – Opposing sides in Syria’s civil war stood together to observe a minute of silence on Thursday 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 far yielded no compromise.

The first talks between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and his foes 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 civil war, although they disagreed about how talks should proceed.

Jan 29, 2014

Veteran negotiator pursues Syria ‘mission impossible’

GENEVA (Reuters) – The job was too much for Kofi Annan. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning former U.N. secretary general – hardly known as a quitter – threw in the towel in August 2012, declaring that serving as international mediator for Syria was impossible as long as global powers were hopelessly divided.

Few expected much progress from Annan’s replacement. But since taking on the role, Lakhdar Brahimi, an 80-year-old Algerian diplomat with decades of experience in some of the world’s most intractable conflicts, has steadfastly refused to give up on what is expected to be his final mission: seeking an end to Syria’s civil war.

Jan 29, 2014

Brahimi says no substantive progress on Syria but hopeful

GENEVA (Reuters) – International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday that he does not expect to achieve anything substantive in the first round of Syria talks ending on Friday, but hoped for a more productive second round starting about a week later.

His sombre assessment came as the two sides took a first tentative step forward by agreeing to use the same 2012 roadmap as the basis of discussions to end the three-year civil war, though they disagreed about how talks should proceed.