U.N.'s Ban, Syria mediator frustrated at failure to stop war

UNITED NATIONS Sat Mar 2, 2013 6:30pm GMT

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon waves at the beginning of the fifth United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Forum in Vienna February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon waves at the beginning of the fifth United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Forum in Vienna February 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon and Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi expressed frustration on Saturday at the failure to end Syria's conflict and said the United Nations was ready to facilitate peace talks.

Ban and Brahimi met in Mt. Pelerin, Switzerland, to discuss the two-year-old war that has killed more than 70,000 people.

In a joint statement, they said "they regretted that the government and armed opposition forces have become increasingly reckless with human life and stressed the importance of accountability for war crimes against humanity."

The conflict began as peaceful protests that turned violent when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tried to crush the revolt.

"The United Nations would welcome and be prepared to facilitate a dialogue between a strong and representative delegation from the opposition and a credible and empowered delegation from the Syrian government," they said in a joint statement.

The U.N. Security Council has been deadlocked on Syria since 2011 over Russia and China's refusal to consider sanctions against Assad's government. They have vetoed three resolutions condemning Assad's crackdown on the opposition groups.

"Both expressed deep frustration at the failure of the international community to act with unity to end the conflict," the statement added.

Damascus and some opposition figures have recently softened their previous outright rejection of talks to resolve the civil war, with both saying they would consider talks with the other side, contingent on some conditions.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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