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Brahimi says no substantive progress at Syria talks

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

GENEVA (Reuters) - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday that he does not expect to achieve anything substantive in the first round of Syria talks ending on Friday but hoped for a more productive second round starting about a week later.

He voiced hope that Russia and the United States would exert greater influence over the two sides to bridge "quite large" gaps, adding that the United Nations and Syria's government were still negotiating access for aid to the rebel-held Old City of Homs.

"To be blunt, I do not expect that we will achieve anything substantive. I am very happy that we are still talking, but the ice is breaking slowly, but it is breaking," Brahimi told a news conference after meeting the government and opposition for preliminary talks on a transitional governing body proposed in a 2012 roadmap.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Khaled Yacoub Oweis)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140129/brahimi-says-no-substantive-progress-at-syria-talks