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As peace talks begin, Syrian regime, opposition, big powers wrangle over Assad's future Updated: 2014-01-23 14:39:06 KST

 As peace talks begin, Syrian regime, opposition, big powers wrangle over Assad's future
Wednesday's talks, involving 40 or so foreign ministers, ended with little progress.
The much-anticipated international talks are aimed at bringing peace to the country, however both the Syrian regime and the Western-backed main opposition group refused to compromise on the future role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the transitional government.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said that only the Syrian people could decide the fate of President Assad and called on foreign powers to stop "supporting terrorism" and to lift sanctions against Damascus.

"If you are really worried about the humanitarian situation in Syria then take your hands off us and lift the sanctions and the siege on the Syrian people."

Opposition leader Ahmed Jarba accused Assad of war crimes and demanded the Syrian government delegation sign onto an international plan for a transfer of power.
Siding with the opposition, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Assad should have no place in a transitional government.
And Syria's envoy to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, said that Damascus needed support to negotiate with the opposition to implement a 2012 Geneva communique that calls for a transitional government, and said that the "terrorism" must also end.
During the talks, there were few signs that any party was ready to make concessions.
UN leader Ban Ki-moon said that the hard work begins on Friday, when direct discussions will begin in Geneva, and urged Syria's regime and opposition to work together to end the bloodshed.
Sohn Jung-in, Arirang News.
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