Damascus Says Ready For Talks

Damascus Says Ready For Talks

Syria’s government told a U.N. envoy on Saturday it was ready to take part in Geneva peace talks scheduled for Jan. 25 but said it wanted to know which opposition figures would participate.
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem, who met U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura in Damascus, also demanded a list of groups that would be classified as terrorist, Syrian state media reported.
The Geneva talks are part of an international bid to end the five-year conflict that has killed an estimated 250,000 people. The plan for a hoped-for ceasefire envisages defining “terrorist groups” in Syria, one of the toughest issues facing diplomats.
The Syrian government views all the groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad as terrorists, including rebels represented in a recently formed opposition council tasked with overseeing the negotiations.
Syrian rebels and opposition politicians have expressed doubts over whether the peace talks will begin as planned.
Moualem told de Mistura “Syria is ready to take part in the Geneva meetings at the proposed time, confirming the necessity of obtaining the list of terrorist organizations and the list of names of the Syrian opposition groups that will take part”, state media reported.

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