There has come some good words from Geneva where world powers have wrapped up hosting the Syrian Government and Opposition Forces for a first round of talks.
The United Nations Syria envoy, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, has said that there has been progress, albeit slow, at the Syria peace talks.
Mr. Brahimi is quoted as saying that he observed a small amount of common ground between the parties – even suggesting that the parties may not realize that.
The two warring factions discussed humanitarian issues and how to end the violence.
More than 100,000 people have died in Syria since March 2011, with over 9.5 million Syrians displaced.
The second round is tentatively due to begin February 10.
What may be most important is that the two opposing sides made it though this phase, albeit tediously, in the same room and acknowledging the challenges.
The gaps are still wide – that's for sure, but Mr. Brahimi stated that it is a beginning which can be built upon.
The other challenge here is that several rebel factions, like al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, are not at the table for these talks.
The issue of how to tackle the foreign fighters who, in some cases have waged successful campaigns and garnered popular support, are a destabilizing factor to both the government and opposition and will need to be confronted in all likelihood.
But the key points right now for the Geneva Conference are stopping the violence, getting humanitarian aid to the people, and a political settlement.
The ultimate goals are a transitional government and democratic elections.
However the idea of a transitional government implies that President Bashar Assad will step down – which he has insisted he will not.
For it's part the Syrian government has focused on what it describes as terrorism, saying that this must first be dealt with.
Middle East Correspondent