Syrian refugees walk at Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, November 1, 2015. Reuters/ Muhammad Hamed
Syrian government officials and members of the country’s splintered opposition could meet in Moscow next week as Russia pushes to broker a political solution to the crisis, a senior official said on Tuesday.
“Next week, we will invite opposition representatives to a consultation in Moscow,” Interfax news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying.
“The meeting … will possibly be with the participation of government representatives,” Bogdanov said. He did not say which opposition members could attend.
After initially dismissing Syrian opposition groups fighting its regional ally President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow has shown increasing flexibility as it steps up diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict that has killed some 250,000 and displaced millions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura in Moscow on Wednesday to discuss attempts to start a dialogue between Damascus and the Syrian opposition, Moscow’s foreign ministry said.
At international peace talks in Vienna on Friday, where Russia was the leading player, Moscow said it wanted opposition groups to participate in future discussions on the Syria crisis and exchanged a list of 38 names with Saudi Arabia.
The list included mostly former and current members of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNC), Syria’s Western-backed political opposition block, Kommersant newspaper reported on Tuesday.