Syrian Peace Talks Begin With Angry Statements05:42
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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) and his delegation take part in the Geneva II peace talks on January 22, 2014 in Montreux. Representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a deeply divided opposition, world powers and regional bodies started a long-delayed peace conference aimed at bringing an end to a nearly three-year civil war. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) and his delegation take part in the Geneva II peace talks on January 22, 2014 in Montreux. Representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a deeply divided opposition, world powers and regional bodies started a long-delayed peace conference aimed at bringing an end to a nearly three-year civil war. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)
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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the delegates to engage in constructive discussions, but the Syrian government and group representing the opposition traded bitter accusations as the peace talks opened in Montreux, Switzerland.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said some states attending the talks had "Syrian blood on their hands" and were trying to destabilize the country.

Ahmad Jarba, the head of the the Syria National Coalition — a coalition of opposition groups — said it had not been the opposition's choice to take up arms, but "was the choice imposed by the Syrian regime."

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry defiantly said there is "no way possible" that President Assad will stay in power.

The BBC's Imogen Foulkes joins Here & Now's Robin Young from Montreux to discuss how the talks are progressing.

Guest

  • Imogen Foulkes, BBC reporter based in Geneva. She tweets @ImogenFoulkes.

This segment aired on January 22, 2014.

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