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Syrian opposition chief negotiator Hadi al-Bahra (right) walks with members of his delegation after a break in a meeting at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, yesterday. Peace talks between Syria’s government and opposition groups might be the headline act, but negotiators are also using ongoing talks in Geneva to try to get the country’s various rebel groups on the same page. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi/EPA

The Syrian government has offered to let women and children leave the besieged city of Homs as negotiators from the warring sides discussed humanitari(...)

UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi giving a press conference in Geneva. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi/Epa

After a period of uncertainty and threats from both sides to depart, UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi announced yesterday that the government and opposi(...)

Bono: “Some of the criminals around here are not wearing ski masks, they are wearing skis.” Photograph: Jean-Christophe Bott/EPA

Bono has challenged world business leaders assembled in Davos to boost the fight against world poverty by raising ethical standards in their respec(...)

Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moualem, head of a Syrian government delegation, arrives for a meeting with UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi at a UN office in Genevatoday. Photograph: Jamal Saidi/Reuters

The Syrian government delegation at peace negotiations in Geneva will leave tomorrow if “serious talks” do not start, according to reports.State TV sa(...)

Margaretta D’Arcy. Prof Michael   O’Flaherty said that while he was not familiar with the details of the court judgment which had resulted in the three-month detention of the peace activist, he hoped that a “compassionate approach” would be taken towards someone who was “elderly and unwell”. Photograph: Eamon Ward

A leading human rights academic has said he is “surprised and disappointed” by Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton’s assertion that trade missions are “n(...)

“We are not going to dig up the continent to reduce our €545 billion annual fossil-fuel import bill. Nor is nuclear going to provide a cheaper economic alternative.” The coal power plant of German utility RWE Power near the western town of Niederaussem. Photograph: Reuters/Ina Fassbender

The European 2030 Climate and Energy plan published yesterday should be a wake- up call. Anyone with an interest in climate change will know that the (...)

US secretary of state John Kerry speaks with Saudi Arabian foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal as UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon looks on, as long-delayed peace talks on the Syrian civil war opened in Montreux, Switzerland, today. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/New York Times

Syria’s government and opposition, meeting for the first time, vented their mutual hostility today but a UN mediator said the enemies may be ready to (...)

UN-Arab League Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (L-R), US Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov join hands after their meeting in Montreux, Switzerland yesterday. Photograph: Reuters

Syria’s government and opposition, meeting for the first time at a UN peace conference, angrily spelled out their hostility today as world powers a(...)

Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth. “It is essential that the mass atrocities being committed in Syria be a parallel focus of any diplomatic effort,” he said in Berlin. Photograph: Maurizio Gambarini/EPA

Human Rights Watch yesterday deplored what it called the failure of international powers to intervene in Syria, saying the desire to bring Bashar al A(...)

Smoke rises from a site hit by what activists say are barrel bombs dropped by government forces on al-Katerji district in Aleppo yesterday. Photograph: Reuters

The cache of evidence smuggled out of Syria showing the “systematic killing” of 11,000 detainees in Syrian jails may only be the tip of the iceberg, i(...)

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