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Syrian FM Says Damascus Ready For Talks With Opposition

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) speaks with his Syrian counterpart, Walid al-Muallem, during their meeting in Moscow.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says Damascus is ready for dialogue with the opposition, including armed rebels who have been seeking to topple the regime for almost two years.

Speaking in Moscow before talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, Muallem said that militants from 28 countries, including Russia's North Caucasus, are fighting alongside the Syrian opposition.

At a news briefing with Muallem, Lavrov reiterated Moscow's support for a political resolution of the conflict and warned that further bloodshed could bring Syria's collapse.

Russia has also invited the head of Syria's main opposition coalition, Moaz al-Khatib, to visit Moscow for talks.

According to United Nations estimates, some 70,000 people have died since the conflict began in March 2011.

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and ITAR-TASS