The United States has expressed deep skepticism about suggestions that the Syrian regime was prepared to discuss the exit of Bashar al-Assad.
Speaking on a visit to Moscow on August 21, Syria's Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil appeared to suggest that Assad could leave power as part of a negotiated settlement.
But he also insisted that the president's resignation could not be a precondition for talks.
In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland later said that the White House "didn't see anything terribly new there."
Following talks with China's top diplomat and a Syrian delegation including Jamil, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned against imposing "democracy by bombs," saying that the only thing foreign players should do in Syria is create conditions for dialogue between Assad's regime and opposition fighters.
Based on reporting by AFP