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International Peace Envoy Brahimi in Damascus

  • VOA News

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem (R) meets with U.N-Arab League peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, October 20, 2012.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem (R) meets with U.N-Arab League peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus, October 20, 2012.

The Syrian government says talks on Saturday between international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and the country's foreign minister were "serious" and "constructive."

The state-run SANA news agency says the two men discussed conditions for halting violence, linked to the 19-month-old anti-government uprising, in order to prepare for "comprehensive dialogue." The news agency did not specify the conditions, but repeated the government's opposition to any form of "foreign interference" in the matter.

The U.N.-Arab League envoy is also scheduled to meet with President Bashar al-Assad and opposition leaders during his visit to Syria.

Brahimi is pushing for Syrian officials to support a cease-fire during the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that begins October 26. The secretaries-general of the U.N. and the Arab League issued a statement Friday calling for a cessation of violence during the religious period.

Meanwhile, fresh clashes between security forces and rebels erupted across Syria on Saturday.

The French news agency, AFP, says the unrest includes fighting around an army base near the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan in northern Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 70 people were killed in unrest across the country on Saturday.

A previous cease-fire in April collapsed after just a few days, with each side blaming the other.

Then-mediator Kofi Annan later resigned from his post.
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