The Syrian government is ready to send envoys to Moscow for talks with representatives of the opposition it has been fighting in a brutal civil war for over 3½ years, according to state-run media.
The government of President Bashar Al-Assad wants to find a way out of the conflict in the country, Syria’s state news agency, SANA, said Saturday.
The meeting is expected to take place after January 20 in Moscow and will be “informal,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said, according to Russian state news agency Itar-Tass.
“Negotiators have been named; they are the foreign minister and the first deputy … but it is up to Syria’s authorities to decide on the format for the delegation to be sent for Moscow’s consultative meeting,” the spokesman said.
Opposition groups in Syria, including the Free Syrian Army, have not said whether they’re prepared for the negotiations or would take part in them.
Any talks would be the first since negotiations in Geneva, brokered by the United Nations, fell apart in February. At the time, U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi apologized to the Syrian people, saying he was “very, very sorry” that, despite two rounds of talks, “we haven’t done very much.”
Since then, the extremist group ISIS has become a growing force in northern Syria and al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front has made gains, weakening more moderate opposition groups such as the Free Syrian Army.