GENEVA, Jan. 24 -- UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi confirmed Friday that neither the Syrian government nor the opposition is going to compromise, after President Bashar al-Assad's delegation threatened to walk out.
"I met the delegations of the opposition and the government separately yesterday and today, and tomorrow we expect, we have agreed, that we will meet in the same room," he said at a press conference.
"Both parties are going to be here tomorrow. They will be meeting. Then we will decide the following meeting on Sunday. Nobody will be leaving on Saturday and nobody will be leaving on Sunday," he emphasized.
Earlier on the day, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told Brahimi that "should serious sessions fail to take place tomorrow, the official Syrian delegation will leave Geneva due to the lack of seriousness and readiness by the opposition delegation."
"The Syrian delegation is serious and ready to start (negotiations), but the other side is not," he was quoted by the official SANA news agency as saying.
Friday afternoon, Louay Safi, spokesman from the major opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC), accused the government of lacking goodwill and attempting to run away from political solution.
The opposition made it clear that they will only negotiate on the basis of the Geneva Communique reached at the "Geneva I" peace conference in 2012, which, they believed, asked for the creation of a transitional government and required Assad to go.
"They have not committed to the communique until this point. That's why we are waiting until they commit, and then we can talk face-to-face," he said. "How would you negotiate with someone when there is no common ground, no foundation for negotiations?"
However, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said Friday in Geneva that any talks about the departure of Assad are a "black political comedy" and reflected the state of confusion the other party (the opposition) has been having.
He said the Syrian delegation would not hand over the power to the SNC but will negotiate a political solution.
The international conference on Syria kicked off on Wednesday in the Swiss resort Montreux, pulling for the first time representatives from the Syrian government and opposition to sit down to the negotiating table.
According to schedule, they were supposed to start direct talks on Friday. However, the process of negotiation didn't proceed as foreseen at the beginning.
"We knew it (is) going to be difficult and complicated...We are using yesterday, today and tomorrow hopefully to make it as smooth as possible," said joint mediator Brahimi.
He announced that the talks will continue until the end of next week, and at some stage, they might have suspensions to allow the negotiators to go back.
He pointed out that the two parties both "understand what is at stake". "Their country is in very, very bad shape. The situation in Syria is bad and getting worse," he said.
"The huge ambition of this process is to save Syria," he continued. "I hope that all three parties: the government, the opposition and the United Nations would be up to the task," he added.