U.N.'s Brahimi starts talks with Syrian government

by Reuters
Friday, 24 January 2014 10:58 GMT

DATE IMPORTED:January 22, 2014U.N. special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi speaks to U.S. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (R) at the opening of the Geneva-2 peace conference in Montreux January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Jamal Saidi

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GENEVA, Jan 24 (Reuters) - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi and a Syrian government delegation led by Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem began meeting on Friday at the United Nations in Geneva, a witness said.

Brahimi is due to meet separately with the Syrian opposition delegation at 1600/1400gmt, a U.N. spokeswoman said.

"Both meetings are private," a U.N. statement said, later confirming that Brahimi had started talks with the government delegation.

Opposition delegates told Reuters that the opposition will not meet with the Syrian government delegation until it endorses the Geneva communique of June 30, 2012 calling for a transitional governing body to be established.

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny; writing by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Dominic Evans)