"Friends of Syria" blame Assad for holding up peace talks

by Reuters
Friday, 31 January 2014 16:17 GMT

GENEVA, Jan 31 (Reuters) - International powers backing the Syrian opposition blamed the government of President Bashar al-Assad on Friday for the failure to make headway at peace talks in Geneva.

The Friends of Syria, an alliance of mainly Western and Gulf Arab countries, met in Geneva on Friday, shortly after the first round of talks ended, and called on Assad not to obstruct further rounds of talks.

"The regime is responsible for the lack of real progress in the first round of negotiations. It must not further obstruct substantial negotiations and it must engage constructively in the second round of negotiations," the group said in a statement. (Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, editing by Tom Miles)

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