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Saturday, December 29, 2012
Excerpts: Russia invites Syria opposition chief for talks December 28, 2012

Excerpts: Russia invites Syria opposition chief for talks December 28, 2012

+++SOURCE: Naharneet (Lebanon) 28 Dec.’12:”Russia Invites Syria Opposition
Chief for Talks”,Aagence France Presse
SUBJECT: Russia invites Syria opposition chief for talks
QUOTE: “Russia … involved in a frantic round of year-end diplomacy seeking
to end the (Syria) crisis”
DULL TEXT:Russia, one of the few powers to maintain links with the Syrian
regime of President Bashar Assad, has sent an invitation for talks to the
head of the opposition Syria National Coalition, a top diplomat said
Friday[28 Dec.].

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told the RIA Novosti news agency
the talks with National Coalition head Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib could take place
in Moscow or a foreign location like Geneva or Cairo.

"The invitation has been handed over, it is in the hands of Ahmed Moaz
al-Khatib," Bogdanov said.

Russia has so far strongly criticised moves by Western and anti-Assad Arab
states to recognise the National Coalition as legitimate representatives of
the Syrian people since the group was formed last month.

Yet Russia is also involved in a frantic round of year-end diplomacy seeking
to end the crisis.

A Syrian deputy foreign minister visited Moscow on Thursday[27 Dec.] and
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is to meet U.N.-Arab League peace envoy
Lakhdar Brahimi in the Russian capital on Saturday[29 Dec.].

Russia had already indicated it was ready to hold talks with the Syrian
opposition who until now have regarded Moscow with suspicion over its
refusal to break ties with the Assad regime.

Bogdanov also said he expected there to be a new three-way meeting between
Brahimi and U.S. and Russian representatives on the Syrian crisis in
January.

"We will hear what Lakhdar Brahimi says about the Syrian crisis and likely
there will be a decision on a new 'triple B' meeting with Lakhdar Brahimi,
(U.S. Deputy Secretary of State) William Burns and Mikhail Bogdanov," he
said.

"But this will be in January, after the (Russian New Year) holidays,"
Bogdanov said.

SourceAgence France Presse

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Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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