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Warnings of failure as Syria talks deadlocked

Update: February, 12/2014 - 11:00

GENEVA – Syria peace talks headed into a third day on Wednesday after sparking warnings of failure, but the evacuation of civilians from besieged rebel-held areas of the city of Homs was set to resume.

Little progress towards breaking the deadlock was apparent on Tuesday, despite appeals from UN-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi to end the "nightmare" of the Syrian people.

The veteran peacemaker was downbeat after a three-hour session in Geneva Tuesday marking the first face-to-face talks between Syria's rival camps this month.

"The beginning of this week is as laborious as it was the first week," Brahimi told reporters. "We are not making much progress."

The current round of talks is set to last until Friday. But it got off to a shaky start on Monday, and Tuesday's session did not appear to achieve anything beyond a restating of well-known positions.

"I think Geneva under the current circumstances will end in failure," Ali Haidar, Syria's reconciliation minister, said in Damascus.

Opposition spokesman Louay Safi said his side would not "run away", but that without progress it would be "more honest to say we have failed."

A first round was held in Geneva from January 24-31, when simply getting the foes to the table for the first time since the war erupted in 2011 was deemed a breakthrough. AFP

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