Russia ready to meet Syria opposition coalition

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Russia ready to meet Syria opposition coalition

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Russia has proposed holding talks with Syria’s main opposition coalition, and has made contact with the group through the Russian embassy in Cairo.

After meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Kamel Amr, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s comments again hint that Moscow may be resigned to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad losing power.

Lavrov urged Syria’s government to negotiate with the opposition.

“As we have been doing for all these months, we actively encourage the Syrian leadership to make as concrete as possible its declared readiness for dialogue with the opposition,” he said.

The message from Egypt’s Foreign Minister was less optimistic for Syria’s current leadership.

“We should look at the situation now in terms of a managed transitional period which would lead to the creation of a transitional government and to the managed development of Syria on a democratic basis in the future,” Amr said.

International Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will travel to Moscow on Saturday 29 December.

Meanwhile, the fighting continues in the 21-month conflict that has caused the deaths of more than 44,000 people.

The rebel Free Syrian Army has announced a new offensive in Maaret al Numan, part of Idlib province, in the north west of the country.