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Russia's Putin Hopes Next Round of Syria Talks Bring Resolution

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, right, attend meeting at Cairo International Airport, Feb. 9, 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he expected that there would be a new round of talks on the Syria conflict following from a meeting of some opposition figures and the Damascus government in Moscow last month.

Standing next to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after talks in Cairo, Putin said: “We look forward ... to the next round of such talks, which ultimately I hope will lead to a peaceful settlement of the situation in Syria.”

The next meeting between some Syrian opposition figures and the Damascus government in Moscow are set to take place in about a month, a participant in the consultations in Russia had said on Jan. 30.

The Moscow talks, which ended on Jan. 29, were not seen as yielding a breakthrough as they were shunned by the key political opposition and did not involve the main insurgent groups fighting on the ground in Syria.

Moscow has been a long-standing ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose government has dubbed many of its opponents as terrorists.

Russia says combating terrorism should be a top priority in Syria. The conflict has killed more than 200,000 people since protests against Assad started in 2011 and then descended into a war in which radical Islamists have now gained the upper hand among the anti-Assad forces.

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