Direct talks between the Syrian government and the opposition fighting to topple the regime have ended in what international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi described as a frustrating round of negotiations that have "not come out with very much."
About all that was decided in the latest round of the talks in Geneva that ended on Saturday was an agenda for a third set of meetings at an unspecified date.
"I apologize that these two rounds have not come out with very much," Brahimi said.
The United Nations-Arab League mediator said that the Syrian government had refused to deal any other points of contention until the issue of combating "terrorism" had been settled. The term is what the Syrian government uses to describe the bloody three-year-old rebellion that has killed more than 130,000 people.
"I think it is better that every side goes back and reflects on their responsibility (and if) they want this process to continue or not," Brahimi said. "It's not good for the process, it's not good for Syria, that we come back for another round and fall back into the same traps that we have been struggling with."
But The Associated Press says that Brahimi made clear that he wanted the next round of negotiations to come quickly.
The AP says:
"The latest round of talks lasted for a sixth consecutive day at U.N. European headquarters in Geneva, while the violence kept escalating back home for Syrians.
"Despite the hostility between the two delegations that [have] produced little more than public displays of acrimony and sparring before the TV cameras, the opposition said it continued to hold out hope for a political solution."