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Ice breaks in Syrian peace talks as two sides observe minute of silence

Published on Jan 30, 2014 8:56 PM

GENEVA (REUTERS) - Opposing sides in Syria's civil war stood together to observe a minute of silence on Thursday in honour of the tens of thousands killed in the three-year conflict, a rare symbol of harmony a week into peace talks that have so far yielded no compromise.

The first talks between President Bashar al-Assad's government and his foes have been mired in rhetoric since they began last Friday.

The two sides took a first tentative step forward on Wednesday by agreeing to use the same 2012 roadmap as the basis of discussions to end the civil war, although they disagreed about how talks should proceed.

UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday he does not expect to achieve anything substantive in the first round which ends on Friday, but hopes for more progress in a second round starting about a week later.

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