Syria Talks Reach Dead End, Opposition Says

Regime sticks to only one issue, says opposition delegate, referring to rebel 'terrorism.'

A second round of Syrian peace talks have reached a dead end, an opposition delegate said Friday after a day of separate meetings between each side and UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

"The regime is sticking to only one issue," Louay al-Safi, spokesman for the opposition delegation said, referring to what the government calls "terrorism" by rebel groups.

"We took several steps and discussed it, but the regime wants to keep standing there though we said that halting violence requires a new government," he said.

"We reached a dead end," he added, saying the talks could continue for another day.

Al-Safi called on Russia, an ally of the Syrian government, to persuade the regime of President Bashar Assad to discuss a political solution to the crisis.

Russia and the United States have sponsored the talks, aimed at ending the civil war in which more than 130,000 people have died.

The second round of discussions started Monday with more setbacks than progress.

Al-Safi said the opposition received no response to a proposal it had submitted Wednesday for ending the civil war. The proposal called for a transitional body to be formed that would, in addition to having full executive powers, be "the sole legitimate body representing Syrian sovereignty."

That proposal appeared to point to a formula that could reconcile opposition demands for the removal of Assad with Assad's own insistence that he remain in office until elections scheduled this year.

Also on Friday, a senior U.S. official said Syria's government delegation has been "stonewalling every step of the way" in Geneva peace talks and Washington expects Russia to pressure them to engage seriously in the peace process.

"We hope and trust that because the Russians believe in a political solution, a diplomatic solution, they will urge the regime to engage in a serious and constructive way," the official said. "The regime hasn't done so yet, that speaks for itself."