Russia urges Syrian oppn to hold talks

The Daily Telegraph
Tuesday 26th February, 2013

RUSSIAN Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has pressed Syrian opposition leaders to open talks with the regime to stop the bloodshed after “constructive” talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

After the nearly two-hour meeting in Berlin, Lavrov on Tuesday called on the opposition to “declare itself in favour of dialogue” when it meets various Western leaders, including Kerry, at crunch talks in Rome on Thursday.

As diplomatic efforts intensified to end the conflict that has claimed 70,000 lives since it began in March 2011, fierce clashes erupted around the historic Umayyad Mosque in Syria’s second city Aleppo.

Explosions and gunfire shook the area around the mosque, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. …

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