Syrian Officials Arrive in Moscow for Talks

MOSCOW, November 18 (RIA Novosti) – A delegation of Syrian officials arrived in Moscow for talks with Russian diplomats Monday as the international community continues to work on organizing peace talks for the war-stricken Middle Eastern nation.

The Syrian officials, who include presidential advisor Bouthaina Shaaban and Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad, were set to meet with senior Russian diplomats, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

International negotiations are currently underway to reach an agreement on the framework for a peace conference on Syria to be held in Geneva that will involve all the sides in the Syrian civil war as well as world powers. The conference has been repeatedly delayed.

Over 100,000 people are believed to have died since fighting broke out between the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the armed opposition in March 2011, according to the UN.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry discussed preparations for possible talks in Geneva in a telephone call Sunday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday.

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