02/15/2014, 00.00
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Geneva II: second round of talks ends without results

UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi apologises to the Syrian people for the lack of progress. The main point of contention remains the transitional government, which Damascus has strongly rejected. The opposition continues to demand Assad's removal.

Geneva (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The second round of peace talks in Geneva ends again without results, said UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi who apologised to the Syrian people for the lack of progress. Until the last moment, the diplomat tried to convince the two sides to set at least a date for the next meeting, but to no avail.

Syrian officials have said there is no question of replacing President Bashar al-Assad. Opposition spokesman Louay Safi said the government team had failed to show "any responsiveness".

Damascus insists on the need to fight what it calls "terrorists", whilst the rebel delegation stresses the need for a transitional governing body (TGB) to run the country until elections. "Unfortunately, the government has refused" the latter, Brahimi said.

Meanwhile, for most Syrians, talks have been useless given that almost nothing has been achieved after two rounds, except for an agreement that allows civilians to leave Homs and humanitarian aid to get into the city. A more comprehensive deal remains elusive.

From a military point of view, the situation on the ground in Syria has also not changed. Since talks began on 22 January, at least 5,000 people have died.

US President Barack Obama said he was considering ways of putting more pressure on President Assad, though he did not expect any resolution in the short term.

"There will be some intermediate steps that we can take applying more pressure to the Assad regime and we are going to be continuing to work with all the parties concerned to try to move forward on a diplomatic solution," said Obama who is in California meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah.

The US president did not disclose what steps he has under consideration.

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