Brahimi apologises to Syrians for peace talks failure
Geneva, February 15, 2014
International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi apologised to the Syrian people on Saturday for the lack of progress at peace talks in Geneva after their second round ended with little more than an agreement to meet again.
The Algerian-born diplomat said the agreement to evacuate people from the besieged city of Homs had raised hopes that had not been satisfied at the Geneva talks involving opposition groups and representatives of President Bashar al-Assad.
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also stressed the meagre results so far, saying the Homs evacuation did not herald any wider improvement in humanitarian access to Syria's civil war zones, where the United Nations says it cannot reach up to 3 million people in need.
"I am very very sorry and I apologise to the Syrian people that their hopes which were very very high here, that something will happen here," Brahimi told journalists after the talks.
"I think that the little that has been achieved in Homs gave them even more hope that maybe this is the beginning of coming out of this horrible crisis they are in."
Saturday's last session of the second round of the talks was "as laborious as all the meetings we have had, but we agreed on an agenda for the next round when it does take place," Brahimi added.
The three-year-old Syrian conflict has killed more than 140,000 people - more than 7,000 of them children - according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and is destabilising the country's neighbours.
The pro-opposition Observatory, a London-based monitoring group, said the period since the "Geneva 2" peace talks for Syria began last month had been the bloodiest of the conflict.-Reuters