MOSCOW: Russia's foreign minister said Moscow has proposed talks with the main Syrian opposition coalition, despite previous Russian criticism of Western countries' recognition of the group.
Sergey Lavrov told a news conference on Friday that Russia has contacted the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces through the Russian Embassy in Egypt and ''we expressed readiness to conduct a meeting'' with coalition leader Mouaz al-Khatib.
The statement comes in the wake of comments by officials, including President Vladimir Putin, that suggest Russia is resigned to its longtime ally Syrian President Bashar Assad losing power.
The opposition coalition was formed in November and recognised by Western countries as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.
Russia has criticised such recognition as running counter to agreements to seek political transition in Syria.