U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday blamed Syrian President Bashar Assad's government of obstructing progress in the Syria peace talks, while Syria’s foreign minister Walid al-Moallem said the U.S. was creating a non-supportive environment for dialog at the negotiation table in Geneva, according to Associated Press.
Moallem stated that the U.S. had created a “negative climate” in Geneva during the peace talks, a day after Assad’s government and opposition forces, which have demanded his resignation, met to discuss a way out for the three-year-old conflict.
John Kerry restated his country’s willingness to help Syria and applauded the Syrian opposition’s effort of meeting Assad’s government adding that the government made the talks much more difficult than they already were.
He said that while the talks stalled in Geneva, “the regime intensified its barbaric assault on its civilian population with barrel bombs and starvation. It has even gone as far as to add some of the opposition delegates at Geneva to a terrorist list and seize their assets. This is reprehensible," Kerry said, according to AP.
Meanwhile, Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations’ Arab league mediator, apologized to Syrian residents that the talks did not progress further.
"I am very, very sorry, and I apologize to the Syrian people that their hopes which were very, very high that something will happen here," he said.
The strife, which began in 2011 as a peaceful protest against Assad's government, has now escalated into a civil war, leading to the deaths of more than 140,000 people according to some estimates of activists following the uprising. The U.N.’s human rights office said in January that it has stopped updating the death toll as it is no longer able to verify the sources of information.
Since the Geneva talks began on Jan. 22, about 5,792 people have been reportedly killed. According to AP, workers of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent entered a Western suburb in Damascus under a government blockade on Sunday, to deliver food for the first time in 15 months. During this time, the U.S. and its allies in Europe and the Middle East have supported the opposition while Russia and Iran have stood by Assad and his government.
Kerry, who is on an Asia tour and is currently in Indonesia, also criticized Russia’s backing for Assad stating that its support for the Syrian regime had complicated the peace process.
“Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not be distributing so much more weapons and so much more aid that they’re in fact enabling Assad to double-down which is creating an enormous problem,” Kerry said on Monday, according to AFP.