A Western diplomat calls Syria peace talks a ''complete failure'' before they started Friday, after UN said it would press ahead despite opposition boycott. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Demonstrators outside the UN in Geneva. They want to deliver a message -- serving what they symbolize Syrians in besieged areas eat. The menus includes grass soup and spicy leaf soup. Despite an opposition boycott to the talks, a government delegation arrives. A Western diplomat has already declared the first Syria peace talks in two years were a "complete failure" before they even started -- after the UN announced it would press ahead with them despite the boycott. While the talks are expected to go ahead, UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi offers few details. (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS SPOKESMAN, AHMAD FAWZI, SAYING: "All I can say about the talks is that they will start as planned, as Staffan de Mistura announced, I don't have a time. I don't have the exact location, and I can't tell you anything about the delegations." Since the last talks collapsed in 2014, Islamic State fighters have surged across Syria and Iraq declaring a "caliphate." The U.S. and its European and Arab allies launched air strikes against them with Russia joining the fight last year with a separate air campaign to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And still no signs of peace. Five years of war has killed more than 250,000 people, with some 10 million driven from their homes -- as the latest efforts to find peace appear to expose ongoing divisions.