Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem has said the government is ready for talks with armed opposition forces fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
Al-Moualem made the offer of dialogue during a visit to the Russian capital Moscow. He stressed, however, that Syria will pursue its fight against terrorist elements amongst the rebel forces.
Ryan Crocker, who was the US Ambassador to Syria from 1998 to 2001, believes the war-torn country’s neighbours could play a key role in establishing peace.
Crocker said: “The best way forward is an initiative in which I believe Turkey could play an important role, along with other regional states, in identifying and encouraging moderates – both in the Syrian establishment and in the opposition, to work out the terms of an agreement.”
The former ambassador added, “I think if that happens then it will not be overly difficult for that moderate consensus to deal with the extremist elements – whether they be Bashar and his hardline supporters or the extreme elements in the opposition. I think they can manage that on their own.”