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"This needs to be about empowering all of the Syrian people" -- Kerry

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The Syrian government and opposition meet for the first time head to head in Switzerland, venting mutual hostility over a nearly three year civil war.

But the United Nations, which mediated the event, said the warring sides may be ready to discuss prisoner swaps, local ceasefires and humanitarian aid.

The U.S. is holding a firm line. according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

"We hope that the Geneva conference will be a first step on the road to establishing a dialogue between Syrians on Syrian ground. I thanks those who stood by us, friendly countries, over the last three years until now and we tell everyone that we will fight terrorism anywhere it is with one hand, and build Syria with democratic politics and society with the other hand," he said.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moualem spoke of the dialogue.

"We hope that the Geneva conference will be a first step on the road to establishing a dialogue between Syrians on Syrian ground. I thanks those who stood by us, friendly countries, over the last three years until now and we tell everyone that we will fight terrorism anywhere it is with one hand, and build Syria with democratic politics and society with the other hand," Al-Moulem said.

''It is time for this disease to be finished and for a new and beautiful Syria to be born. We are at a historical moment today and as your heard here today gentlemen, the whole international community including the permanent members of the Security Council agree on the goal of our meeting today which is the implementation of the principles of Geneva 1, which is bound by UN Security Council resolution 2118,'' said Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Al Jarba

But the conference hasn't raised great expectations for an end to a a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people and left millions homeless.

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