11/18/2013, 00.00
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Moscow discusses peace conference with Syrian government. It also invites the opposition

Assad 's advisor and the vice- foreign minister meet with Russian diplomats. Leader of the Syrian National Coalition also invited but declines invitation while expressing interest in going to Moscow.

Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies ) - A Damascus government delegation arrived  in Moscow today to discuss a possible peace conference to end the Syrian conflict with Russian diplomats.

The delegation is formed by the adviser to the president , Mrs. Buthaina Shaaban , and Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad . They will meet with the deputy foreign ministers of Russia Gennady Gatilov and Mikhail Bogdanov .

The Damascus representatives explained that the visit focuses on how to prepare the peace conference, the so-called Geneva II, planned for over a year but continuously postponed due to the vetoes of possible participants and division in the UN Security Council. The UN and Arab League are the sponsors of the conference.

Russian diplomacy had also invited Jarba Ahmed , president of the National Syrian Coalition the main opposition to Bashar Assad, who , however, declined the invitation because of " prior official commitments". The opposition group, however, said it was very interested in going to Moscow.

Many opposition groups do not want to attend the conference if it includes Assad. The Coalition instead has agreed to participate with a precondition of Assad being given a transition time to leave power .

The Coalition is formed by various opposition groups , including the Free Syrian Army . The radical Islamist groups instead have consistently refused to take part.


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Syrian opposition will participate in Geneva II, but only if Assad gives up power
A Christian to head the Islamists of the Syrian National Council
Arab League pondering sanctions against Damascus
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