United Nations mediator Lakhdar Brahimi is to meet with delegations of the Syrian government and the opposition separately on Friday. Mr Brahimi will assess the willingness of the two sides to meet together and discuss ending the war.

UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told the press that Brahimi, Joint Special Representative for Syria, will meet the Syrian government delegation led by Foreign Minister Walid al Moallem on Friday morning, and will talk with the opposition later in the afternoon.

The international conference on Syria, taking place in the Swiss city of Montreux, was launched on Wednesday. The first official round of peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition was scheduled for today, Friday. However, plans changed after talks got off to a rocky start at the conference.

Ms Vellucci stated: “As Mr. Brahimi has announced in Montreux, the process of negotiation didn’t go on as foreseen in the beginning,” and added that the mediator might need a few weeks to prepare for direct talks between the two sides.

Exchange of accusations

The conference is aiming at bringing the Syrian conflict to an end after three years of atrocities that resulted in the death of more than 100,000 people. However, according to media reports, on the first day of the conference, President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the opposition groups have accused each other of being responsible for the war.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that even though there has been no breakthrough progress, all parties are determined to find a way to peace. As he stated: “We have a difficult road ahead, but it can be done and it must be done. It is still not too late to end the bloodshed and find the peaceful and democratic future. The moment to act decisively and courageously is now.”