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Ear to the Ground

Syrian Peace Talks Get Tense in Opening Session

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Posted on Jan 22, 2014

  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, speaks during a joint news conference with U.N.-Arab League Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Montreux, Switzerland, on Wednesday. (AP/Gary Cameron, Pool)

Given that the international coalition, spearheaded by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, that convened in Switzerland on Wednesday for an emergency diplomatic intervention on the crisis in Syria carried a strong message underscoring the need for regime change, it’s not surprising that things got a little heated in the opening session.

The BBC brought word of the tense scene in Montreaux during and after Wednesday’s initial remarks:

Wednesday’s initial meeting, involving speeches from 40 or so foreign ministers - has now ended. The direct talks are scheduled to begin in Geneva on Friday.

At a fractious evening news conference, during which there were repeated calls for calm, Mr Ban spoke of the suffering in Syria, saying: “Enough is enough. The time has come to negotiate.”

He said that “the really hard work begins on Friday”, adding: “We have a difficult road ahead, but it can be done and it must be done.”

Mr Ban dwelt on the Geneva communique, which calls for a transitional government in Syria, saying he was disappointed with the attitudes of both the Syrian government and its ally, Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry did his part to add to the pressure, declaring, “You cannot save Syria with Bashar al-Assad in power.”

—Posted by Kasia Anderson

 

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