Middle East

Media awaits Syria breakthrough

A man carries a bag amid damage and debris in the besieged area of Homs Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Media are somewhat pessimistic about the Syrian peace talks

Newspapers in the Middle East express frustration with the Syrian peace talks in Geneva, which some fear are heading for failure.

The privately-owned Saudi paper al-Watan says in an editorial that ''to rescue the Geneva II conference from failure, the UN Security Council must press the implementation of provisions of the Geneva I conference (calling for a transition process)… The United States should ensure that any transitional government does not include Syrian President Bashar al-Assad."

The Qatari paper al-Rayah argues that ''the conference must come up with specific recommendations, including that there should be no room for the regime or Bashar al-Assad in the future Syria... The ball is in the regime's court and it is thus urged to stop imposing preconditions, and sign the Geneva I conference recommendations.''

However, Syria's government-owned newspaper Tishrin gives short shrift to calls for transfer of power. "The deluded must realise that the Syrian government delegation to Geneva II has not gone to the conference to hand over power to those who have been conspiring against the people over the past three years... The official delegation had gone to Geneva to represent the aspirations of the Syrian people.''

Tough demands

And writing in Syria's al-Ba'th newspaper, Khalaf al-Miftah says: "Given the progress of events in Montreux and Geneva, there is, so far, no indication of a real breakthrough in the Syrian crisis. It is clear that the so-called (Syrian) National Coalition and its regional and international backers are still making tough demands while knowing full well that these cannot be implemented on the ground.''

The London-based Arab-language al-Quds al-Arabi expresses the perception that things are moving slowly in Geneva. One of its headlines reads: ''Syrian regime's delaying tactics an obstacle to reaching agreement on detainees and humanitarian aid for Homs.''

In Iran, the conservative paper Javan says: "The rift between the Syrian government and the opposition and differences among opposition groups are widening as the Geneva II conference continues and that seems to be the reason why many observers think the conference is doomed to fail. Perhaps, the only way the two varying sides can start the negotiations is to achieve a step-by-step and region-by-region ceasefire.''

'Theatre of the absurd'

In neighbouring Turkey, Ali H Aslan says in the daily Zaman that ''if the American military threat is not kept on the table convincingly, there is no serious reason for the Assad regime - which continues to stay upright with the strong support of Russia and Iran - to ask for a status quo change''.

In Russia, Yuriy Paniyev says in Moscow's Nezavisimaya Gazeta: "Opposition representatives are letting it be known in every way possible that while humanitarian issues deserve close attention, genuine, from their point of view, talks will begin only when discussion on the formation of a transition government begins. So far, it has been a test, of sorts, and the testing of the regime for goodwill."

A few days ago the USA's Boston Herald said the peace talks had taken on a "theatre of the absurd" quality.

"Against this backdrop of death and destruction, the continuing slaughter of children through repeated bombings and an organised campaign of starvation of opposition strongholds, Secretary of State John Kerry will do what he does best - talk... and talk... and talk..., a do-nothing president will still be doing nothing, and people in Syria will still be dying."

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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