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January 29, 2014 AT 10:34 AM
U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi says the first phase of the Syria peace talks in Geneva will end on Friday, and the gap between the government and the opposition remains "quite large." Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Brahimi said he does not expect any substantial achievements over the next two days. Still, he said, the "ice is breaking slowly." He said both sides will decide on Friday when the second phase of the talks will take place. Earlier Wednesday, both sides managed to discuss the thorniest issue: the opposition's demand for a transitional government in Syria. But President Bashar Assad's adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban, toldThe Associated Press that it would be difficult to even hold a presidential election in Syria, given the raging violence of the civil war, and she rejected a transitional governing body.