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11.02.2013 09:40 News >> Syria Opposition Open To Talks In Rebel Areas

Syria Opposition Open To Talks In Rebel Areas

Syrian opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib has said he is willing to hold talks with President Bashar al-Assad's representatives in rebel-held areas of northern Syria to try to end a conflict that has killed more than 60,000 people Al Jazeera reported.

Syrian opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib has said he is willing to hold talks with President Bashar al-Assad's representatives in rebel-held areas of northern Syria to try to end a conflict that has killed more than 60,000 people Al Jazeera reported.

The aim of the talks would be to find a way for Assad to leave power with the "minimum of bloodshed and destruction", al-Khatib said in a statement published on his Facebook page.

Al-Khatib met international Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Cairo on Sunday. Brahimi urged the opposition leader to keep seeking dialogue with the Damascus government, the UN said.

Brahimi played a main role in organising meetings between al-Khatib and the foreign ministers of Russia and Iran, Assad's main supporters, in Munich last week.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls a large bloc within al-Khatib's National Coalition, is against the dialogue initiative. But it is unlikely to challenge al-Khatib's authority directly, with his initiative gaining popularity in Syria, sources within the coalition said.

The Syrian authorities have not responded directly to al-Khatib's initiative - formulated in broad terms last month. But Information Minister Amran al-Zoubi on Friday repeated the government's line that the opposition was welcome to come to Damascus to discuss Syria's future in line with Assad's proposals for a national dialogue.

Al-Khatib has headed the Syrian National Coalition since it was founded last December in Qatar with Western and Gulf backing.



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