Damascus prepared to attend Geneva peace talks: Syria FM

Syria’s foreign minister says Damascus is ready to participate in peace negotiations scheduled to be held later this month in Geneva.

Walid al-Muallem made the announcement during a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in the Syrian capital on Saturday, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.

The Syrian foreign minister, however, said the government should be provided with a list of the terrorist groups who are barred from the meeting and also the names of the Syrian opposition figures that are due to join the talks.

“Syria is ready to take part in the Geneva meetings at the proposed time,” Muallem said.

The Geneva talks that are scheduled for January 25 are part of international attempts to put an end to the crisis that has claimed an estimated 250,000 lives since March 2011.

Muallem said Damascus would go on cooperating with the UN special envoy “to combat terrorism and push dialogue among the Syrians forward.”

On December 24, the Syrian foreign minister said in Beijing, China, that Damascus is prepared to attend “the Syrian-Syrian dialog in Geneva without any foreign interference.”

Back then, Muallem also said the government delegation would be ready as soon as Damascus received a list of the opposition delegates that were to take part in the talks and the “terrorist organizations” to be banned from the negotiations.

On December 18, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting an international roadmap for a peace process in Syria. The resolution called for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria and the formation of a “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian” government within six months and UN-supervised “free and fair elections” within 18 months.

De Mistura’s visit to Damascus is part of a string of regional trips before the start of the peace talks. The UN official was in Saudi Arabia earlier this week and is due to travel next to Iran.

By Press TV