The Syrian regime’s first offer of talks with armed groups was rejected yesterday out of hand by rebels who said they will not negotiate until President Bashar al-Assad leaves.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) poured scorn on the offer from Walid al-Moallem, the Syrian Foreign Minister, who said during a trip to Moscow that his government was ready for dialogue with “anyone who’s willing”. Meanwhile, another huge blast hit the capital, the latest in a string of attacks in recent weeks.
Renewed efforts for a political solution driven by the National Coalition’s leader, Moaz al-Khatib, have been stymied by rifts within the opposition group, with some insistent that President Assad must step down before negotiations. An earlier offer of dialogue by Mr Khatib was torpedoed over the weekend as his organisation pulled out of talks in Moscow and Washington and a Friends of Syria meeting in Rome later this week.
Under pressure from the US, Mr Khatib yesterday performed a U-turn and said his group would attend discussions in Rome after all.Samsung Galaxy S DUOS S7562 alb
The new US Secretary of State, John Kerry, had called Mr Khatib to persuade him to change his mind during a visit to London, his first destination on a tour of nine countries in Europe and the Middle East.
With the opposition in turmoil, the regime took the opportunity to appear to be leading efforts to