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Rebels wait for Assad’s reply to talks
February 11, 2013, 3:55 pm


Al-Khatib says he is willing to meet Damascus officials somewhere in rebel-held Syria. [AP]

Moaz Al-Khatib, the leader of the Syrian National Coalition opposition group, has repeated his offer to meet with officials from President Bashar Al-Assad’s government.

Speaking from Cairo, where he has been meeting officials, Al-Khatib said that he was willing to meet Damascus officials somewhere in rebel-held Syria to discuss Assad’s transition from power.

He set a pre-condition that Damascus release thousands of political prisoners.

Al-Khatib’s offer came as a car bomb parked on the Turkish side of the border with Syria killed at least eight people and injured dozens.

Al-Khatib has recently been meeting with Syria’s allies in a bid to gain support for his initiative.

Last week he met with Song Aiguo, the Chinese ambassador to Egypt and a few days earlier met with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister on the sidelines of the 49th Munich Security Conference.

Al-Khatib said he had received a “clear invitation” from the foreign minister to visit Moscow, in what could be the beginning of an international diplomatic effort to end the civil war.

“Russia has a certain vision but we welcome negotiations to alleviate the crisis and there are lots of details that need to be discussed,” al-Khatib said after the talks.

Al-Assad has not yet responded to any of Al-Khatib’s overtures. The UN says al-Khatib’s offer for talks gives a “glimmer of hope” that the civil war could be resolved peacefully.

Source: Agencies