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Two sides in Syria far apart before peace talks

Sunday, March 13, 2016 - 01:43

Diplomats like U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry face enormous challenges as they prepare for the resumption of the Syria peace talks. Mana Rabiee reports.

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With U.N. sponsored peace talks set to resume in Geneva Monday, diplomatic efforts are in high gear. In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini plus his British, French, German and Italian counter parts for broad roundtable talks --- the Syria crisis high on the agenda. Next week's talks coincide with the five-year anniversary of the start of the conflict, which has killed more than 250,000 people and created the world's worst refugee crisis. Kerry said called on all sides to abide by a ceasefire deal that's sharply reduced the levels of violence in Syria, saying ongoing violations of the truce risk undermining the entire peace process. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SAYING: "If we don't want to be back here next year, or even the year after, facing a Middle East with even more refugees, even greater numbers of dead and displaced, even more suffering and erosion of hope, it is vital that people exert leadership and deliver on the cessation of hostilities. In the long run, the only way to end this challenge of refugees is to end the Syrian civil war." Meanwhile, the various Syrian delegations continued to arrive in Geneva for what's the most substantial recent effort to end the war. But Syria's government on Saturday ruled out any discussion of the fate of the Syrian presidency at the talks. And the lead opposition negotiator said a political transition couldn't even start unless Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was no longer president. Meaning, come Monday, diplomats still have enormous challenges ahead.

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Two sides in Syria far apart before peace talks

Sunday, March 13, 2016 - 01:43