Syria: Opposition leader rejects Russia invitation for talks

Khatib asks Moscow for condemnation of Syrian regime crimes

28 December, 16:31

(ANSAmed) - Moscow, December 28 - Russia has sent an invitation for talks to the head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Friday. Bogdanov told RIA Novosti that Russia is ready to hold talks over the 21-month-old Syrian conflict with National Coalition head Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib either in Moscow or any foreign location like Geneva or Cairo.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, al-Khatib said the opposition was open to talks but that they refuse to travel to Moscow. He also demanded from Russia a "clear condemnation of the crimes committed by the Syrian regime", which has been supported by Moscow so far. The Syrian National Coalition, the opposition grouping that was formed in November, has been recognized as the legitimate ruler of the Middle East state by Western powers, but has been critcized by Moscow.

Bogdanov also said that US and Russian officials will meet with international peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in January. The UN and Arab League's envoy for Syria, Brahimi, is due to visit Moscow to meet Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"We will listen to what Lakhdar Brahimi will tell us about the current situation in Syria, and will make a decision on a 'triple-B' meeting" of Bogdanov, Brahimi and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Bogdanov said. "But this meeting will take place in January now, after the holidays." Their previous trilateral meeting was held in Geneva earlier this month behind closed doors, Ria Novosti added. (ANSAmed).

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