Jan. 25 - Syria's civil war foes held their first face-to-face meeting, launching talks aimed at ending nearly three years of conflict which has killed 130,000 people. Jillian Kitchener reports.
Syrian government and opposition delegates faced each other from across a negotiating table at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL MEDIATOR LAKHDAR BRAHIMI SAYING: "I am in the bank like this, and one is on the left....One delegation is on the right and the other is on the left and they face one another and they talk to one another. No, they talk through me to one another." The two sides entered and left the room through separate doors. Not surprising since the peace conference almost collapsed on Friday. But Brahimi convinced the two sides to focus on the smaller issues -- before even attempting to establish a transitional governing body. The ultimate goal of Geneva 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INTERNATIONAL MEDIATOR LAKHDAR BRAHIMI SAYING: "We haven't achieved much, but we are continuing. The two delegations are here." The Syrian Information Minister reiterated the government's rejection of a potential transitional ruling body, as part of the solution to the country's ongoing conflict. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SYRIAN INFORMATION MINISTER, OMRAN ZOABI, SAYING: "Directly after Geneva, there was an official Syrian political position, stated to the United Nations and the major powers, regarding the reservations around Geneva 1, so if they are now surprised by this matter, well this is something that concerns them." Focusing on immediate goals, Brahimi said he hoped that Syrian authorities would approve access for an aid convoy to reach Homs on Monday. Small steps to end a brutal civil war.