Damascus ready for reconciliation talks but in Syria

Moscow, Feb 14 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Syrian government has said that reconciliation talks with rebel forces should be held "on the Syrian soil," the SANA news agency reported Thursday.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry stated the government's latest stance in a statement Wednesday, which came in response to media reports that the country's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, who is due to visit Moscow soon, may meet an opposition delegation during his visit.

The ministry said Muallem will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the visit.

"As far as rumors about minister Muallem's meeting with opposition envoys in Moscow, Syria has repeatedly expressed its stance on the issue - Damascus is open for dialogue with Syria's domestic and external opposition on the Syrian soil," the statement reads.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Wednesday that Al-Khatib, the leader of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNCROF), will visit Moscow within the next two to three weeks.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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