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Syrian sides observe minute of silence for dead

Thursday - 1/30/2014, 3:08pm  ET

GENEVA (AP) -- The U.N. mediator says there was at least a moment of unity at peace talks in Geneva today among the representatives for the warring sides in Syria's civil war.

Syrian negotiators observed a minute of silence to honor the more than 130,000 people who have died in their country's three-year-old civil war.

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi (LAHK'-dar bra-HEE'-mee) says the opposition delegation made the suggestion and the government negotiators agreed. The moment of silence represents one of the few ice breaking moments in the talks, in which the sides have been bitterly divided over issues such as the opposition's demand for a transfer of power.

The negotiations are scheduled to end tomorrow and likely will be followed by a weeklong break. Brahimi says there have been "promising moments" in the first round of talks, and he hopes participants will be able to "draw some lessons" that help the next session.

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APPHOTO ANS105: Louay Safi, center, spokesperson for the Syrian National Coalition, Syria's main political opposition group, gestures during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday Jan. 30, 2014. Syrian negotiators have resumed their peace talks involving U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, a day after President Bashar Assad's adviser rejected the opposition's call for a transitional governing body. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) (30 Jan 2014)


APPHOTO ANS301: In this Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 picture, Syrian journalists argue with each other at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The bitterness and rancor stirred by Syria's civil war were on full display this week, both inside and outside the sealed room where rival delegations were seeking a way to end the conflict. In the hallways of the U.N.'s European headquarters and on the manicured lawns outside, tempers flared between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad.(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) (29 Jan 2014)

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