Europe

EU foreign policy chief meets Syrian gov't envoy to talks

  • UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, left, next to European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, speaks to the media during a press conference a bilateral meeting about the Syrian Crisis, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

    UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, left, next to European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, speaks to the media during a press conference a bilateral meeting about the Syrian Crisis, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 23, 2016. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Bashar al-Jaafari, Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of the Syria to UN New York, briefs to the media after a round of negotiations between the Syrian government and UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland,Wednesday  March 23, 2016.  (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

    Bashar al-Jaafari, Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of the Syria to UN New York, briefs to the media after a round of negotiations between the Syrian government and UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland,Wednesday March 23, 2016. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The European Union's foreign policy chief has held a rare meeting with a top Syrian official to help achieve a political transition in the country where the Islamic State group holds vast territory.

Federica Mogherini said she only discussed "support to the U.N.-led process" aimed at ending the Syrian war in the meeting with Bashar Ja'afari in Geneva. The war has led to a refugee crisis in Europe and given an opening to IS.

Mogherini said Wednesday "not all exchanges were consensual" and said she didn't discuss the terrorism fight or a possible end to EU sanctions against Syrian officials.

She declined to reiterate the EU's previous insistence that President Bashar Assad leave power, but said its policy had not changed.