BBC Online : UN Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has said that progress at the Syria peace talks in Geneva has been slow but forms a basis on which the two sides can build. “I observed a little bit of common ground, perhaps more than the two sides themselves realise or recognise,” he told reporters. The government and opposition discussed humanitarian issues and how to end the violence. Another round of talks has been scheduled for 10 February. The opposition has agreed to take part, but the government needs to consult first with Damascus, Brahimi said. “Progress is very slow indeed, but the sides have engaged in an acceptable manner,” he said, quoting from a prepared statement. “This is a very modest beginning, but it is a beginning on which we can build.” Though the gap between the two sides was “wide”, they had become used to sitting in the same room, Brahimi added. “There have been moments when one side has even acknowledged the concerns and difficulties of the other side.” The first round of talks, between the government and the opposition National Coalition, ended after a week. However, several rebel elements, such as the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, are not represented at the Geneva discussions. Key issues are halting the violence, getting humanitarian aid to get to besieged communities, and a future political settlement. Both sides have agreed to use a 2012 document known as the Geneva Communique as a basis for discussions. The document includes proposals for a transitional government and democratic elections. The opposition has insisted on addressing the transitional government issue – which it believes would mean President Bashar al-Assad stepping down. But the government has been stressing that the first step is to discuss “terrorism”. Speaking after Brahimi, opposition spokesman Louay Safi insisted the establishment of a transitional governing body would be discussed at the next round of talks “to end the suffering of the Syrian people that has been steadfast for three years”. The rebels’ campaign had “forced” the Syrian government to the negotiating table, he said. Diplomats have said that a top priority in Geneva is to keep the talks process going, in the hope that hard-line positions can be modified over time. Brahimi welcomed progress made in delivering aid to the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk in Damascus. The UN relief agency UNRWA said on Thursday it had delivered 720 food parcels to the camp, which is held by rebels and is suffering from severe shortages of food and medical supplies. More than 100,000 people have died in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. Al-Jazeera.com adds: Meanshile, Russia has backed Syria as acting in good faith to eliminate its chemical weapons, after the US accused the government of Bashar al-Assad of stalling the plan due to end in June. Mikhail Ulyanov, a Russian diplomat, was quoted by the Interfax news agency on Friday as saying that there was no need for additional pressure on Damascus over the destruction of its stockpiles. “We see that the Syrians are approaching the fulfilment of their obligations seriously and in good faith,” he said.