Geneva : The key issue of a transitional government to replace President Bashar Assad has blocked any progress in Syrian peace talks, described by one delegate as “a dialogue of the deaf.” The chief UN mediator expressed frustration over inflammatory public remarks by the two sides as he sought to identify some less-contentious issues in hopes of achieving any progress at all at the bargaining table.
But even the most modest attempts at confidence-building measures faltered including humanitarian aid convoys to besieged parts of the central city of Homs and the release of detainees.
Mediator Lakhdar Brahimi declared at the end of the day that he had little to report. “There are no miracles here,” Brahimi said, yesterday, adding that both sides nevertheless appeared to have the will to continue the discussions. Asked how he planned to bridge the enormous gap between the two sides, the diplomat quipped: “Ideas, I’ll take them with great pleasure.” The gulf between two sides was on display at session in which the delegations from both sides faced off on the question of Assad’s future.

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