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Russia to miss Syria talks but invites opposition

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Russia to miss Syria talks but invites opposition


Last weekend’s agreement on Syria brought significant shifts in position from Russia and China, according to Kofi Annan’s spokesman.

The UN-Arab League envoy brokered a deal in Geneva calling for a transitional government.

Moscow has invited Syrian opposition leaders for talks next week – but it will not be taking part in a Friends of Syria conference in Paris on Friday.

“My opinion is that after the start of Geneva process there is no need any more for any other activities like a meeting in Paris where 150 countries are taking part. It is difficult to expect serious talks on the settlement in Syria with such high participation,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Differences between Russia and the West remain over President al-Assad’s fate.

Moscow says the Geneva plan does not imply he should step down as there are no preconditions excluding any group from the proposed national unity government.

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