GENEVA- Journalists and activists loyal to opposing sides of Syria's civil war have managed something the negotiators at this peace conference haven't - talking to each other.

Inside the wood-paneled negotiating room at the United Nations' "Geneva 2" talks, delegates for President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition fighting to topple him do not even address each other, only their mediator Lakhdar Brahimi.

But the media teams who followed them here are not being ushered in and out of meetings. They have been stuck together for hours, waiting on officials to make statements.

After days of ignoring each other, journalists began to make eye contact. Now, wary looks and polite smiles have given way to hand shakes and intense debate.

"You do not have an agenda or a plan to build the country. You just want the president out. This no longer convinces us," a pro-government journalist told some pro-opposition activists waiting in a hallway outside the negotiating room.

"But the point is I can say that those people (the opposition) upstairs do not represent me," one activist countered. "Can you criticism Assad or the government? Can you say they committed crimes?"

The group of journalists and activists ended their exchange by agreeing they all love Syria.


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