On Saturday, state-run television in Syria said that the government is ready to take part in Moscow hosted peace talks in January, but the foreign ministry official who was unnamed, suggested the talks would be limited to only preliminary discussions meant to open the door for a later conference to be held in Syria.
The Syria official was quoted by the television station as saying that the government would participate in advisory, preparatory meetings in Russia that would answers aspirations of the people of Syria to find a way out of the ongoing crisis.
The Foreign Ministry in Russia had announced on Thursday that it was hoping to host a set of peace talks after January 20 between the government of Syria and the fractured opposition.
The close to four year long conflict has killed more than 200,000 people, displaced one third of the population of Syria and nurtured the Islamic State an extremist militant groups, which now rules vast areas of Syria and is neighbor Iraq.
Russia is one of Syria President Bashar al-Assad’s staunchest allies. The opposition which is Western backed has insisted any settlement that is negotiated must include the formation of a governing transitional body that has complete executive powers. That demand has been rejected by the government of Assad.
The Syrian National Coalition is the main opposition group backed by the west and its head, Hadi Bahra, said it was still undecided about attending such talks.
Bahra said no response could be made to something that is not definite. No invitations have been made and no framework of what would be negotiated had been released.
Russia has previously said that the first round of talks had to include member of both oppositions groups based abroad and inside Syria.
The next stage, said Russian officials would be that the Syrian government representatives join the meeting.
However, the government official in Syria said that preliminary meetings to be held in Moscow were aimed at finding an agreement on reconvening the dialogue between the Syrian, without foreign intervention.