GENEVA — Hopes faded Monday for a quick win at peace talks between Syria's warring factions after the Syrian government declined to authorize a convoy of food to enter the besieged city of Homs under the terms of an agreement brokered by the United Nations.
There was no sign, either, that a promise to allow women and children to leave the city was moving forward, calling into question whether progress will be possible on the far more momentous issues that will have to be discussed if the conference is to end Syria's brutal civil war.
U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi seemed dejected as he briefed reporters on the third day of the peace talks, which have so far succeeded only in exposing the vast gulf dividing the government and opposition delegations. "The discussions haven't produced much, unfortunately," he said.
At Monday's session, the contentious question of what the warring factions hope to achieve at the conference was broached for the first time.
The government submitted a blueprint for ways to salvage the current Syrian state, fight terrorism and restore territories lost to rebel control; the opposition immediately rejected it.