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Russia Says Syria Will Resume Peace Talks, Hosts Opposition Leader

Russian officials say they expect the Syrian government to resume peace talks with the opposition next week, following an opening round of negotiations in Geneva that ended Friday with little progress.

The statements Tuesday came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba for a meeting in Moscow.

Lavrov said Russia wants to keep regular contacts with the opposition, and is working with all sides to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.



"We urge our European and American partners, the countries in the region to choose the same approach. We are convinced they should work with all sides in the Syrian conflict without exception -- I mean of course political sides, and not terrorist groups."



Jarba said the opposition also intends to continue the talks, and that Russia plays an important role in trying to reach a political solution.

Also Tuesday, Russian state media quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying Syria plans to remove a large shipment of chemical weapons this month.



The shipments are part of a plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons by the middle of the year. U.S. officials last week criticized Syria for what they said was the slow pace at which the process is progressing.

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