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Russia says Syrian govt. planning immediate talks with opposition


15:28, August 22, 2012

MOSCOW, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government was preparing for an immediate political dialogue with the opposition, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

During talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov here, visiting Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil stressed the preparedness of Damascus for "the immediate engagement in the joint work aimed at consent among all the Syrians," the ministry said in a statement.

"Jamil noted that Syria had appointed long ago National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar... as the representative to negotiate with the opposition," the ministry said.

The two sides also exchanged views in details on the settlement to the 18-month long Syrian crisis, with both sides expressing the interest in a soonest end of violence in the country.

"They stressed there was no alternative to the settlement based on the UN Security Council resolutions, the Kofi Annan plan and the Geneva agreements," the ministry said.

Both countries also expressed a hope that newly appointed UN- Arab League special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi would carry out his mission on the basis of the coordinated roadmap of the Syrian settlement, the ministry added.

During the meeting, Lavrov and Jamil also discussed the further development of Russia-Syria relations.

It was the second visit of the Syrian government delegation to Moscow in August. During the first visit, the delegation held talks with Russian officials and business leaders on ways to alleviate the consequences of Western sanctions against Syria.

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