… I do not think it means what they think it means.
Back during the last round of US federal budget impasses, President Barack Obama repeatedly announced his willingness to “negotiate” with congressional Republicans — as long as they gave him everything he wanted first.
Now the US (through the UN) is gaming the “Syria peace talks” in the same way — excluding Iran from the “negotiations” because it refuses to come to the table having already agreed beforehand to give the US and its Syrian rebel proxies anything and everything they might happen to demand.
It’s pretty obvious that these “talks” are a dog and pony show with a pre-ordained outcome. So why even bother actually having them? If you’re going to lie before the fact about your goals, and if you’re going to lie after the fact about how the outcome was “reached,” why not save the airfare and hotel bills and just say you had the “talks?” Anyone who’d believe those other lies would presumably believe that one too.