Newsflash:
Rep. John Conyers End Wars and Occupations Syria Peace Talks: Bitter Exchanges Mark First Day Of Negotiations
Thursday, 23 January 2014 15:23

Syria Peace Talks: Bitter Exchanges Mark First Day Of Negotiations

Written by  Lori Hinnant | Huffington Post
Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja'afari, speaks during a press conference during the Syrian peace talks in Montreux, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja'afari, speaks during a press conference during the Syrian peace talks in Montreux, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) — The United Nations is taking a day to see if there is enough common ground between Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and the opposition to talk directly for the first time since the rebellion began in 2011.

Peace talks charting a path out of Syria's civil war got off to a tense start Wednesday, with Assad's future at the heart of bitter exchanges on the podium as dozens of the world's most powerful diplomats looked on. High-level mediating has yielded little so far, but Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. mediator who is meeting separately Thursday with each Syrian delegation, said there are signs they might be willing to bend on humanitarian aid, cease-fires and prisoner exchanges.

At another Swiss venue, the World Economic Forum in Davos, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called Thursday for a new election in Syria, saying his nation would respect the results.

"The best solution is to organize a free and fair election in Syria" and once the ballots are cast "we should all accept" the outcome, he said.

Iran, a close ally of Assad's, was barred from participating in the Swiss-based talks to end Syria's civil war

At least 130,000 people have been killed in the fighting that began with a peaceful uprising against Assad's rule, according to activists, who are the only ones still keeping count. The fighting in Syria has become a proxy war between regional powers Iran and Saudi Arabia, and taken on post-Cold War overtones with Russia and the United States backing opposite sides.

Signs of compromise were limited after 12 hours of meetings and speeches on Wednesday.

"We don't have any illusions, all they have done so far is ignore reality, reject everything and deceive," said Burhan Ghalyoun, a member of the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition. The opposition group, which has little influence among rebel fighters within Syria, wavered until the last minute on whether to attend the talks in Switzerland at all.

Ghalyoun said he expected little from the talks on Friday, which were intended to be the first face-to-face negotiations between Assad's representatives and members of the rebellion.

Syria's ambassador to the U.N., Bashar Jaafari, said Wednesday that his government had offered a cease-fire in the northern city of Aleppo and had yet to hear back from the Americans. U.S. officials have described that as "a capitulation initiative" in the war's most contested city, and not a truce. And rebels within Syria say the government has used past cease-fires to buy time or consolidate gains.

U.S. and U.N. officials said merely getting the two sides in the same room Wednesday was something of a victory, but U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon's claim that the discussions were "harmonious and constructive" was at odds with the palpable tensions throughout the day.

Brahimi said Thursday's private meetings would determine the next steps — and whether the two sides were ready to sit in the same room.

"As for how quickly we can reach results that would bring happiness and return hope to the Syrian people ... this I cannot tell you," he said.

___

John Heilprin in Davos contributed.

Original article on The Huffington Post

Read 3563 times

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Latest News from the Conyers Campaign

  • Conyers Introduces Legislation to Cancel Disastrous Sequestration
    Conyers Introduces Legislation to Cancel Disastrous Sequestration

    (DETROIT) – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) introduced the “Cancel the Sequester Act of 2013.”  This one sentence legislation would repeal the across the board cuts that are scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2013.  Rep. Conyers issued this statement following introduction of the bill:

    Written on Thursday, 28 February 2013 23:02 Read more...
  • Conyers Reintroduces National Single-Payer Health Care Bill
    Conyers Reintroduces National Single-Payer Health Care Bill

    (WASHINGTON) – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) reintroduced H.R. 676, “The Expanded And Improved Medicare For All Act.”  This bill would establish a privately-delivered, publicly-financed universal health care system, where physicians and non-profit health care providers would be in charge of medical decisions -- not insurance companies.

    Written on Thursday, 14 February 2013 18:18 Read more...
  • Victory in Detroit
    Victory in Detroit

    We're thrilled to report that PDA Board Member and friend Congressman John Conyers won his primary election. PDA members pitched in--volunteering, making phone calls, rallying support in the district. We're happy to share in this hard-won victory.

    Written on Thursday, 09 August 2012 16:40 Read more...
  • Obama endorses John Conyers
    Obama endorses John Conyers

    U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ re-election bid got a boost today when President Barack Obama endorsed him, according to a news release from Conyers’ campaign.

    Written on Wednesday, 15 February 2012 01:53 Read more...
  • Biography Rep. John Conyers, Jr.
    Biography Rep. John Conyers, Jr.

    Representative John Conyers, Jr., a Detroit Democrat, was re-elected to represent the 14th Congressional District in November of 2010, to his 24th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district covers all of Highland Park and Hamtramck, as well as large portions of Detroit, Dearborn and the Downriver communities of Melvindale, Allen Park, Southgate, Riverview, Trenton, Gibraltar and Grosse Ile.

    Written on Tuesday, 03 January 2012 12:53 Read more...
  • Hundreds rally against possible Detroit takeover
    Hundreds rally against possible Detroit takeover Hundreds of people gathered at a Detroit church to voice their opposition to the possibility that the state could take over the city's government.
    Written on Tuesday, 03 January 2012 12:43 Read more...
  • Conyers Opposes House GOP Effort to Derail Relief for Workers, Seniors, and the Unemployed
    Conyers Opposes House GOP Effort to Derail Relief for Workers, Seniors, and the Unemployed Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released the following statement in response to House Republican opposition to H.R. 3630 – the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011.
    Written on Monday, 02 January 2012 23:14 Read more...

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of