From VOA Learning English, this is In the News.
International efforts to bring an end to the conflict in Syria got off to a bad start on Friday. Talks between the Syrian government and the opposition coalition opened in Geneva, Switzerland. But the two sides refused to hold direct negotiations.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem is leading the government delegation. He announced he would leave if the talks do not get serious by Saturday. At the same time, a leader of the opposition delegation rejected the idea of face-to-face negotiations. Badr Jamous said there will be no direct talks until the government team accepts what is called the Geneva 1 communique. That document is supposed to be the starting point for the talks.
The Geneva 1 communique calls for the establishment of a temporary government in Syria. The opposition and its allies say that means Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave office. The president and his allies disagree.
The United Nations and Arab League diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi is taking part in the talks between the government and the opposition. He met with the two sides separately on Friday. The diplomat had predicted that this kind of dispute might delay the talks. But he expressed hope that he could get the two delegations to sit down together. Late Friday, Mr. Brahimi said the talks will continue on Saturday, in his words, "in the same room."
Observers had predicted such difficulties. On Wednesday, the Syrian foreign minister and opposition leader made conflicting statements at an international conference in nearby Montreux, Switzerland.
David Butter is a Syria expert with London's Chatham House. He sees little hope of progress during the current talks.
"Both Syrian sides have got very different objectives going into it. And also, it's in a context where you can't really see either party to the internal conflict actually having any sort of decisive advantage, which would be the basis of some sort of bargaining process."
The distrust is making it difficult for the negotiations to move forward.
The UN says more than nine million Syrians urgently need aid and many of them cannot be reached because of the fighting. The three-year long Syrian conflict has killed an estimated 100 thousand people.
For weeks, diplomats have been preparing for the talks in Switzerland. Last Sunday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited Iran to take part in the one-day meeting at Montreux. But the Syrian National Coalition, threatened to boycott the talks if they included Iran. The United States said the only way Iran could take part was by supporting the establishment of a temporary government in Syria with full executive powers. This was an idea presented in the "Geneva 1 Communique". But, Iran has refused to say it supports the communique.
That forced Mr. Ban's spokesman to announce that Iran would not be attending the meeting in Montreux, nor the talks in Geneva.
And that's In the News from VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember.
I would like to emphasize that civilized society in the world of today should reject firmly any cult in any form.
I disagree with you about this.
3.predict vt. 预言，预测
You can never predict what would happen next.
4.objective n. 目标
Our main objective was the recovery of the child safe and well.
This speech needs to be set in the context of Britain in the 1960s.
6.decisive adj. 决定性的；坚定的
The election campaign has now entered its final, decisive phase.
7.boycott vt. 抵制（货物等）；拒绝参加
We put the production under a boycott.
1.That document is supposed to be the starting point for the talks.
The article served as a useful starting point for our discussion.
2.The distrust is making it difficult for the negotiations to move forward.
After this, we are equipped to move forward.
周五，国际社会致力于终止叙利亚冲突的努力开始得并不顺利。叙利亚政府和反对派联盟之间的会谈在瑞士日内瓦开始 。但是双方拒绝进行直接谈判 。
叙利亚外交部长穆阿利姆(Walid Al-Moualem)领导政府代表团。他宣布如果周六之前会谈没有正式进行，他将离开 。同时，反对派代表团一位领袖拒绝面对面谈判 。巴德尔(Badr Jamous)表示，双方不会进行直接会谈，直到政府代表团接受日内瓦一次会议公报 。这份文件应该是会谈的起跑点 。
日内瓦一次会议公报要求叙利亚组建临时政府。反对派及其联盟表示，这意味着叙利亚总统必须下台 。而总统及其盟友不赞成 。
联合国-阿拉伯联盟外交官拉赫达尔·卜拉希米(Lakhdar Brahimi)参加了政府和反对派之间的会谈。周五，他分别与双方代表举行了会晤 。这位外交官预测，这种争端或许会延迟会谈 。但是他表示有希望让双方代表团一起坐下来谈判 。周五晚，普拉希米表示，会谈将于周六继续，用他的话说，“在同一间会议室进行” 。
David Butter是伦敦皇家国际事务研究所叙利亚问题专家。他在目前的会谈中看不到任何取得进展的希望 。
几周来，外交官们一直为瑞士会谈做准备。上周日，联合国秘书长潘基文邀请伊朗参加在蒙特勒举行的为期一天的会议 。但是叙利亚全国联盟威胁称，如果伊朗参加会议，他们将抵制会谈 。美国表示，伊朗参加会议的唯一方法就是支持叙利亚建立拥有全面行政能力的临时政府 。这是日内瓦一次会议公报中提出的想法 。但是伊朗拒绝支持该公报 。
以上就是今天的美国之音慢速学英语时事新闻节目。我是Steve Ember 。