Last updated: 13 February, 2014

Russia and US vow to help unblock Syria talks

High-level Russian and US diplomats have promised to help unblock the deadlocked Syria peace talks in Geneva, UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said Thursday.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov and US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman “promised that they will help both here and in their capitals … to unblock the situation for us,” Brahimi told reporters following a meeting with the two diplomats.

That meeting came after Syria’s warring sides spent days in Geneva trading blame for the violence ravaging their country and endlessly restating their positions.

“Until now, we are not making much progress in the process,” Brahimi said, acknowledging that “failure is always staring at us in the face.”

He stressed though that “as far as the United Nations is concerned, we will certainly not leave one stone unturned if there is a possibility to move forward.”

The talks that began on January 22 were initiated by Washington, which backs the opposition, and Moscow, a key ally of Syria.

Asked whether there had been any change in the attitudes of the two sides since then, Brahimi said the delegations “are a little bit more familiar with the presence of the other side.”

“I don’t think any friendships have developed yet,” he added. “We’re still looking for the point where we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”