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'Syrian government says ready to talk to armed opposition'
By REUTERS
02/25/2013
MOSCOW - Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday Damascus was ready to talk to the country's armed opposition, Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported.

"We are ready for dialogue with everyone who wants it ... Even with those who have weapons in their hands. Because we believe that reforms will not come through bloodshed but only through dialogue," the minister said during a visit to Moscow for talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition has said it is willing to negotiate a peace deal to end the country's civil war but that President Bashar Assad must step down and cannot be a party to any settlement.
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