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Top envoys insist Syria peace talks must proceed

First Published      Last Updated Jan 12 2014 05:09 pm
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"We want to do some persuading here and clear away the last obstacles that might exist — at least try to do that," Steinmeier said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the coalition had, in fact, agreed last fall to attend the meeting, but since then has reconsidered as the result of renewed violence and brutality he blamed on the regime.

"We are working very hard, and (al-Jarba) is working very hard to convince the Syrian National Coalition — all of the members and also on the ground —to participate," Davutoglu said.

In Damascus, United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos called on the international community to do more to help Syrians suffering from the conflict. And Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah in Paris said none of the opposition's allies had done enough.

But Marea, the Aleppo activist, predicted that if the peace talks happen "it will be a disaster" for those suffering in Syria's civil war.

"The regime must be called to account for its crimes, and the government to replace it should be one that all the people want," he said.

He did not say how that could happen.


Associated Press writers Diaa Hadid and Ryan Lucas in Beirut, Lebanon; Elaine Ganley in Paris; and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.