Middle East

Russia welcomes Syria opposition decision to join peace talks: diplomat

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem (L) and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov enter a hall before the talks in Moscow, January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Pool

MOSCOW: Russia on Sunday welcomed a decision by Syria's opposition to attend an international peace conference next week alongside representatives of a regime they seek to overthrow.

"That is the right decision, we've have always said that one has to go to the forum and enter into dialogue with the government," Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the state ITAR-TASS news agency.

"The work of the conference will be based on this, the main thing is the launch of inter-Syrian talks," said Bogdanov, adding Russia expected such a decision from the opposition.

"The most important thing is for them to put together a representative delegation. As far as we understand, right now contacts are under way between various organisations and figures."

After weeks of hesitation and threats to boycott the talks, the deeply divided National Coalition on Saturday said it would go to Switzerland for the so-called Geneva II gathering.





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