Syrian FM al-Moallem to visit Russia before peace talks
Syrian FM al-Moallem to visit Russia before peace talks
News   /   Syrian Crisis

Damascus's ambassador to Moscow "Riyad Haddad" said  today that Syrian Foreign Minister "Walid al-Moallem" will visit Russia ahead of the Geneva-2 peace talks on the crisis due to begin in Switzerland later this month.

 "He will be in Moscow prior to Geneva-2", Riyad Haddad told the Interfax news agency, without specifying the date.

A diplomatic source in Damascus said the visit could take place on Thursday.

The announcement came as Russian Foreign Minister "Sergei Lavrov" held talks in Paris with US Secretary of State "John Kerry" about the Swiss conference.

The Swiss meetings, due to begin January 22 in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux and continue two days later in Geneva, are aimed at Syrian government and opposition members in their first direct talks.

The July 2012 Geneva conference - involving world powers but no Syrian government or opposition officials - concluded with an agreement that Syrian should decide on a transitional government whose representatives suited all sides.

U.S officials interpreted the wording to mean that the deal excluded the possibility of president al-Assad remaining in power. But insists that al-Assad can't be forced to step down through outside pressure because he retains strong domestic support.

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