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Moderate Syrian Rebels Ask Kazakhstan To Host Opposition Talks

Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry says several Syrian opposition groups have asked President Nursultan Nazarbaev to host talks with opposition delegates in a bid to resolve Syria's civil war.

Astana did not specify which groups made the request, but said they were invited to Kazakhstan "only for a deeper study of the issue in order to find out if additional talks are needed."

Ministry spokesman Altai Abibullaev suggested delegates from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime should not be excluded from any peace talks.

Abibullaev quoted Foreign Minister Erlan Idrisov as saying Astana has no "intention to substitute the existing platforms" of peace talks -- known as the Geneva and Moscow formats.

Those formats both include mediated talks with Assad's delegates and moderate opposition figures, but have made little progress.

A moderate opposition figure, Randa Kassis, said in early April that Nazarbaev would be asked to meet with "Syrian opposition activists."

Based on reporting by KazTAG and Interfax