Russia: Syria peace talks should center on fighting 'terrorists'

MOSCOW - Russia said on Tuesday stopping "terrorists" fighting in Syria should be high on the agenda when an international peace conference convenes to try to end more than 2-1/2 years of conflict in the Arab nation.
The United Nations hopes the "Geneva 2" conference, which Moscow and Washington are trying to arrange, can be held in mid-December to seek a negotiated solution to a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people.
The meeting has been delayed for months amid disagreements over whether President Bashar Assad should play any future role in Syria, dissension within the Syrian opposition and disputes on whether Iran should take part in the talks.
Lavrov's comments are likely to upset the rebels fighting in Syria. Assad's foes are also concerned that his removal may no longer be the top priority for Western powers.
"The overwhelming majority of our partners in all regions are beginning to understand that not changing regimes but fighting terrorists, wherever they lift their heads, is our common and absolutely unconditional priority," Lavrov said.
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