Syria, Arab league welcome U.S.-Russia peace effort

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The Syrian foreign ministry and Arab League welcomed on Thursday a U.S.-Russian proposal to seek a negotiated end to the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Moscow and Washington agreed this week to try to bring President Bashar al-Assad's government and his opponents to the negotiating table, according to Reuters.


However, it remains unclear if the two parties will agree.

The Syrian foreign ministry said on Thursday it welcomes the proposal adding that it was confident key ally Moscow would not change its stance on the conflict, AFP reported.

“Syria welcomes the U.S.-Russian rapprochement... It is confident that the Russian position, which is based on the principles of the U.N. Charter and international law, will not change,” the ministry said.

In the same vain, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby also welcomed the proposal and called on the Syrian government and opposition to participate, Reuters said.

“This Russian-American cooperation to work together and directly constitutes a significant and positive development,” Elaraby said in a statement as quoted by Reuters.

Elaraby urged Assad's government, the opposition National Coalition and all other Syrian parties to seize the opportunity to agree on the formation of a transitional government.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Moscow on Tuesday that Russia had agreed to work on a conference in the coming weeks aimed at ending a conflict now in its third year.

Most opposition figures have ruled out talks unless Assad and his inner circle are excluded from any such administration.

The Western-backed National Coalition umbrella group welcomed the U.S.-Russian move on Wednesday but said that hopes for a democratic state required Assad's exit from power.

“The Assad regime has dropped all initiatives that have been presented to resolve the crisis and has continued to put sticks in the wheels of any agreement or committee or team, Arab or international, over the past two years,” it said in a statement.

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