Syria confirms it will attend next round of peace talks

Syria confirms it will attend next round of peace talks
Fri Feb 7, 2014 13:37:31

Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Muqdad, says Damascus will take part in a second round of peace talks in Geneva due to start on February 10.

"It has been decided that the delegation of the Syrian republic will take part in the second round of negotiations in Geneva," state news agency SANA quoted Muqdad as saying on Friday.

The UN has proposed holding a second round of discussions that would begin Monday.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition already has agreed to attend.

Bouthaina Shaaban, a close political and media adviser to Assad, told Syrian state television in an interview late Wednesday that the government delegation to last month's talks in Switzerland is still evaluating the first round of negotiations and briefing the leadership on them.

However Syria's chief ally, Russia, expressed confidence earlier this week that the Syrian government would indeed return to the UN-hosted peace talks in Geneva.

The so-called Syrian National Council (SNC) and its Western supporters insist that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must step down and a transitional government be formed in Syria.

However, Damascus rejects the demand, arguing that the SNC does not represent the Syrian opposition.


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