The United States on Monday night voiced support for the Syrian opposition's call for talks with President Bashar Assad's regime, AFP news agency reported.
Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz Alkhatib put his authority within the opposition movement at risk earlier this week when he broke ranks to say he would be willing to meet Syrian officials to discuss a transition if political prisoners arrested during the uprising were freed.
He repeated this call on Monday, urging Assad to delegate his deputy, Vice President Faruq al-Sharaa, to help negotiate an end to the conflict.
"If the regime has any interest in peace, it should sit down and talk now with the Syrian Opposition Coalition, and we would strongly support al-Khatib in that call," AFP quoted State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland as saying.
Reuters contributed to this report