The first day of talks between the Syrian government and opposition at Montreaux didn’t go well, with both threatening to withdraw from the talks over minor disputes.
UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi confirmed that the collapse was averted, however, and that both sides have agreed to meet again Saturday as well as Sunday, with no walkouts.
Saturday will actually be the first face-to-face meeting, because today’s took place in two different rooms, with the opposition insisting that direct talks be conditioned on the government agreeing that the whole purpose was to negotiate regime change. They didn’t, of course, and that’s the source of today’s complications.
The opposition faction, the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), represents virtually no fighters on the ground in Syria, and therefore it remains unclear how, even if they came to some sort of settlement, it would do anything about the civil war or the rising dominance of al-Qaeda in the nation’s north.