Russia tells US: 'Damascus ready for peace talks'
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) gives a press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on September 9, 2013 following a meeting in Moscow. (AFP)
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Military strikes on Syria risk causing an “outburst of terrorism” in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in talks with his Syrian counterpart on Monday.
“The possibility for a political solution remains,” Lavrov said after talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, saying his Syrian counterpart said Damascus was still “ready for peace talks.”
Labrov said that both Russia and Syria urge the U.S. to focus on peace talks, not military action on Syria.
U.S. lawmakers were to return Monday from a summer break and debate whether to approve limited U.S. military action in Syria.
Russia and the United States agreed in May to organize a Geneva II peace conference bringing all the sides to the negotiating table. Lavrov said that Muallem informed him that Syria has agreed to participate in the talks, without setting conditions.
“The president asked me to pass on his thanks to Putin for his position during and after the G20 summit” in Saint Petersburg last week, Muallem told Lavrov at the start of talks, according to AFP news agency.
Lavrov assured Muallem that Moscow’s position on Syria was “well known and not subject to changes.”
“There is no alternative to a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria” Lavrov said, rejecting any “military solution involving outside intervention.”
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