No agenda agreed for Geneva talks: Syria official

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The Syrian government delegation says no agenda has been agreed for the internationally-brokered peace talks in Geneva, blaming the foreign-backed opposition of refusing to discuss the issue of "terrorism." "Another lost day because the representatives of the coalition insisted that terrorism in Syria does not exist and did not want to discuss it," Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Muqdad said after a meeting with UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi on the second day of talks on Tuesday. He added, "This should be the priority for any Syrian.... After that we are ready to discuss anything." Meanwhile, Brahimi said peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition are not making much progress. He appealed to all parties to "help Syria out of the nightmare its people have been living through now for [almost] three years." On Monday, the second round of negotiations known as the Geneva II conference opened in the Swiss city of Geneva between the Syrian government delegation, led by Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, and foreign-sponsored opposition. The first round of the talks aimed at containing the deadly violence ended inconclusively on January 31, amid sharp differences between the representatives from the Syrian government and the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC). Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011.

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