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Syria peace talks in doubt

Saturday - 2/15/2014, 2:10pm  ET

GENEVA (AP) -- A U.N. mediator has ended direct talks between Syria's government and the opposition today without finding a way of breaking the impasse in the peace effort. Today's talks in Switzerland lasted less than half an hour.

The future of the negotiating process is in doubt, with no date set for a third session.

Mediator Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters afterward that both sides need to decide whether or not they want the peace process to move forward. He said he had suggested an agenda for the next round of talks, but that Syria's government "refused." And he says the opposition now believes the government has no interest in discussing a transitional governing body.

Syria's ambassador to the U.N. says his government did, in fact, accept the proposed agenda -- but not the way the agenda was interpreted by the other side.

Even amid the peace effort, more than 3,400 people have been reported killed this month in Syria. Activists said today that the death toll has reached 140,000 from three years of violence.

%@AP Links

124-a-15-(Lakhdar Brahimi, (LAHK'-dar brah-HEE'-mee), U.N. mediator, at news conference)-"has been imposed"-U.N. Mediator Lakhdar Brahimi says the well-being of the Syrian people should be a top priority of all parties involved in the peace talks in Geneva. (15 Feb 2014)

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125-a-10-(Lakhdar Brahimi, (LAHK'-dar brah-HEE'-mee), U.N. mediator, at news conference)-"about the second"-U.N. Mediator Lakhdar Brahimi says the Syrian government has refused to hold talks on a transitional government unless the issue of terrorism in Syria is tackled first. (15 Feb 2014)

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APPHOTO SDN115: UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi speaks during a news conference after closing the second round of negotiation between the Syrian government and the opposition at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Brahimi ended direct talks between the Syrian government and opposition Saturday without finding a way of breaking the impasse in peace talks. Saturday's talks, which lasted less than half an hour, left the future of the negotiating process in doubt. (AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi) (15 Feb 2014)

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