Billboard with portrait of Assad and the text God protects Syria

Syria’s Foreign Minister Announces He Is Ready For Rebel Talks

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The Syrian regime is ready to engage in peace talks with the rebels, included armed groups, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Monday.

According to AFP, the minister agreed to the dialogue while meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow.

“We are ready for dialogue with all who want dialogue, including those who are carrying arms,” Muallem said.

Russia has been a long time ally of the Syrian regime and annnounced on Thursday that it would be ready to broker a deal between the rebels and the regime.

Muallem said he still believed in a “peaceful solution” to the conflict that has, according to UN statistics, so far killed an estimated 70,000 people. The Syrian government has largely been blamed by the international community and various human rights groups for the violence.

Lavrov reitterated Russia’s plea to end the bloodshed by engaging in talks, saying, “The Syrian people should decide their fate without external intervention.”

Russia has supported the Syrian army with weapons and funds and has refused to back UN appeals for intervention in the war-torn state.

The rebel movement, led politically by Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib, has recently pulled out of a deal to begin on talks with the regime. The Syrian National Coaltion has said they would not begin talks unless there was an agreement in place for President Assad to resign from his position.

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