MOSCOW: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Monday that Syria is ready to negotiate with all parties, including armed groups, who want dialogue to end the conflict, in the clearest offer yet of negotiations with rebels fighting to overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
“We are ready for dialogue with all who want dialogue, including those who are carrying arms. Because we believe that reforms will not come through bloodshed but only through dialogue,” Muallem said at the start of Moscow talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
But Moualem said Syria would continue its fight “against terrorism”, a reference to its conflict with anti-Assad rebels in which the United Nations says 70,000 people have been killed.
The Chief of opposition Syrian National Coalition Moaz al-Khatib told reporters in Cairo he had not yet been in contact with Damascus about any talks, but said he had postponed trips to Russia and the United States “until we see how things develop”.