Syrian government confirms attendance to new round of peace talks

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Published Friday, February 7, 2014

Syria's deputy foreign minister said on Friday the government would take part in a second round of peace talks on Syria's civil war in the Swiss city of Geneva, state media reported.

The Geneva II peace conference, which had its first round of talks earlier this month, brought Syria's warring sides together for face-to-face negotiations for the first time since the nearly three-year-old conflict began.

State news agency SANA cited Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal as saying the government delegation would attend the talks and demand a discussion "article by article" of the Geneva Communique, the document agreed by the United Nations and world powers as the basis for talks.

Much of the talks were dominated by debate over the basis of negotiations outlined in the Geneva Communique. The document calls for an end to violence in a civil war that has killed over 100,000 people and the formation of a transitional government.

President Bashar al-Assad's delegates want to focus on halting "terrorism", the term they commonly use to describe the rebels fighting to end four decades of Assad family rule. The opposition wants to focus on forming a transitional government which it insists must not include Assad.

"Restoring peace and stability throughout the Syrian Arab Republic requires putting an end to terrorism and violence, as is said in the Geneva communique," SANA quoted Meqdad as saying.

(Reuters)

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