International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi yesterday apologised to the Syrian people for the lack of progress at peace talks in Geneva after their second round ended with little more than an agreement to meet again.
The Algerian-born diplomat said the agreement to evacuate people from the besieged city of Homs had raised hopes that had not been satisfied at the Geneva talks, involving opposition groups and representatives of President Bashar al-Assad.
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross also stressed how meagre the results had been, saying an evacuation from Homs did not herald any wider improvement in humanitarian access to Syria's civil war zones, where the United Nations says up to three million people in need are beyond the reach of its operations.
"I am very, very sorry and I apologise to the Syrian people that their hopes, which were very, very high here, that something will happen here," Brahimi said.
"I think that the little that has been achieved in Homs gave them even more hope that maybe this is the beginning of coming out of this horrible crisis they are in."
Yesterday's final session of the second round of the talks was "as laborious as all the meetings we have had, but we agreed on an agenda for the next round when it does take place", Brahimi said.
Opposition National Coalition spokesman Louay Safi said there was "nothing positive" to take from the week-long talks. The final session lasted just half an hour.