No new session at Syria talks after regime says US 'arming terrorists'

28th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

Syria's warring sides will not meet again at peace talks in Geneva on Tuesday, the UN said, after a morning session broke up with the regime accusing Washington of "arming terrorists".

After announcing the start of a morning session around 11:00 am (1000 GMT), the UN said in a terse statement later that "no meeting has been planned for this afternoon".

A member of the opposition negotiating team, Rima Fleihan, told AFP that UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi had adjourned the meeting "because the regime is not cooperating on any subject, not on humanitarian issues and not on a transitional governing body."

Both the opposition and regime delegations said no new meetings would be held until Wednesday morning.

Tuesday's morning session saw the regime present a statement it wanted adopted by participants condemning Washington.

The statement, obtained by AFP, said "the United States has made a decision to resume arming terrorist groups in Syria."

"This decision can only be understood as a direct attempt to obstruct any political solution in Syria through dialogue... Those participating in the meeting condemn this American step."

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad lamented to reporters that the opposition had rejected the statement.

"The other party said they don't agree... and that they support the United States' steps to arm terrorist groups," he said.

"The United States is not interested in the success of this process," he said. "This is another manifestation by the United States of America of its support of terrorist groups in Syria."

Prominent opposition member Burhan Ghalioun told AFP the opposition delegation had on Tuesday called for the lifting of all sieges on towns across Syria.

The UN-brokered talks in Geneva had delivered a tangible promise on the humanitarian front Sunday, when the regime agreed to allow women and children safe passage from besieged areas of Homs.

But there has been no movement since on an evacuation, with some opposition figures voicing fears civilians could be forcibly expelled from rebel-held areas and stressing that many do not wish to leave.

"This is against international law. People have the right to stay in their homes and get the food and the medicine they need," delegation member Louay Safi told reporters.

UN agencies said Tuesday they were waiting for permission to truck aid into the besieged parts of Homs, but Muqdad denied that the government was the obstacle.

"We are still waiting for assurances (from the UN coordinator in Damascus) that these convoys will not go to armed groups and terrorist groups inside the city," he said.

"The armed groups should first leave, and then we are ready to provide whatever it takes for the civilians who are there," he added.

© 2014 AFP

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