Syrian govt, rebellion face to face _ briefly

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GENEVA (AP) -- The first face-to-face meeting between Syria's government and the opposition hoping to overthrow Bashar Assad started and ended after barely a half-hour.

After tense days spent avoiding each other and meeting separately with a U.N. mediator, Assad's handpicked delegation and representatives of the Syrian National Coalition gathered briefly in the same room, then emerged.

The two sides were distant going into the meeting, with the Damascus delegation denying it had accepted the premise of a transitional leadership, and the opposition saying it would accept nothing less. Diplomats have said even getting them to the same table can be considered an accomplishment three years into the uprising that left 130,000 people dead.