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Prospects for Syria Peace Talks Look Dim


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World diplomats are in Switzerland trying to find a solution to Syria's deadly civil war.

Fighting continues to rage on the battlefield and it's now spreading to Lebanon where a bomb exploded in a Beirut neighborhood, Wednesday.

The prospects for the Swiss conference do not look good.

When the talks opened, even the world's top diplomat, United Nation Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had a hard time sounding hopeful.

"The challenges before you and before all of us are formidable. Nevertheless, your presence here raises hope," he said.

But it didn't take long before Ban himself was in testy exchange with a representative of Syria's Assad government after his speech had gone on for more than 20 minutes.

Ban: Can you just wrap up in one or two minutes?

Al-Moallem: No, I can't promise you. I must finish my speech.

The United Nation's diplomacy and peace-keepers have failed to stop a Syrian bloodbath with more than 130,000 dead and millions of refugees in three years of fighting.

U.S. policy has been all over the map on Syria for months, alternating between threats of war and diplomacy.

In Switzerland, Secretary of State John Kerry took a hard line against the Assad regime, saying there is no place for him after the talks.

"That means that Bashar al-Assad will not be part of that transition government. There is no way, no way possible in the imagination, that the man who has led the brutal response to his own people could regain the legitimacy to govern. One man, and those who have supported him, can no longer hold an entire nation and region hostage," Kerry said.

Opposition leaders at the talks agreed.

"If they are really human beings, they have to stop what they are doing. They destroy Syria. Two million houses they destroyed. We have 10 million people, Syrian, out of their homes and 3 million out of their land," Syrian opposition member Haitham al-Maleh argued.

But outside the talks, Assad supporters protested what they see as a U.S.-led railroading of Assad.

"We are here for Syria, against this propaganda, this American propaganda. We are going to tell the world that we are one, army and leader and people," pro-Assad protestor Mounir Agha said.

While the delegates were gathering in the Alps, an explosion rocked a Shiite stronghold in southern Beirut, as violence from the Syrian civil war spread to Lebanon.

It was one more sign that the talks will most likely be just another prelude to more fighting.

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About The Author


John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN New since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.