Moscow Ready to Talk to Free Syrian Army – Minister

LJUBLJANA, May 3 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow is ready to hold talks with all representatives of the Syrian opposition, including Salim Idriss, leader of the Free Syrian Army, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

Lavrov made his comment after Idriss said he would be ready to meet the Russian authorities to discuss paths to a resolution of the Syrian civil war.

“We are ready for talks with all of the Syrian opposition,” Lavrov said, adding he had not heard any statement from Idriss.

Armed “non-state players are against international laws,” Lavrov added, and said it was not time to pour oil on the fire, but do everything which was agreed at the Geneva meeting of June 30 last year.

At a meeting on Syria in Geneva on June 30, foreign ministers from UN Security Council permanent member states and from countries neighboring Syria proposed establishing a transitional Syrian government that would comprise both the Syrian authorities and opposition forces.

Armed groups in Syria, Lavrov said, were a gamble on a military scenario and not a political solution.

Lavrov said he would discuss the situation in Syria at a meeting next week with his US counterpart Secretary of State John Kerry.

Yesterday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the US was reconsidering whether to arm Syrian rebel groups, which it has previously held back from doing.

That follows reports last week, as yet unconfirmed, that the government forces in Syria had used chemical weapons including nerve agents against rebel forces in the conflict, which President Obama had previously said would be a “red line” for the US.


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