BEIRUT

Middle East

Peace talks 1st goal: Aid to besieged Syrian city

  • Syrian senior presidential advisor Buthaina Shaaban speaks to a Syrian TV reporter at the United Nations Offices in Geneva on January 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

GENEVA: Syrians on opposite sides of their country's civil war are trying again to find common ground, with talks focusing on an aid convoy to a besieged city and possible prisoner exchanges.

The delegation for President Bashar Assad complained Sunday that the talks are avoiding the main issues and questioned their usefulness. The U.N. mediator says the thorniest topic - a possible transitional government - will not come up until at least Monday.

The Western-backed opposition, made up largely of exiled Syrians, says Assad has lost legitimacy and can no longer lead a country after unleashing the military on largely peaceful protests nearly three years ago. The government says the rebellion is rife with terrorists and that Assad is the only person able to end the fighting that has killed 130,000 people.

 
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