Syrian negotiators arrive for Geneva peace talks
GENEVA Syrian negotiators arrived separately to meet U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura in Geneva on Thursday in a low-key start to the first U.N.-led peace talks in almost a year.
WASHINGTON The U.S. State Department dismissed a speech by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Sunday as a meaningless attempt to retain power in his war-torn country and urged the beleaguered strongman to step down.
Assad's speech "is yet another attempt by the regime to cling to power and does nothing to advance the Syrian people's goal of a political transition," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in a statement.
"His initiative is detached from reality, undermines the efforts of Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, and would only allow the regime to further perpetuate its bloody oppression of the Syrian people," she added, and repeated longstanding U.S. calls for Assad to step down. (Reporting By Paul Eckert; Editing by Sandra Maler)
MEXICO CITY A bid by U.S. President Donald Trump to deport non-Mexican illegal migrants to Mexico that has enraged Mexicans will top the agenda when officials from both countries meet on Thursday amid a deepening rift between the two nations.
BEIJING China's defense ministry said on Thursday it was aware of the presence of a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group in the South China Sea and China respected freedom of navigation for all countries in the waters there.