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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia Calls on Syrian Opposition to Talks with Authorities

RIA Novosti

22:33 15/02/2012 VIENNA, February 15 (RIA Novosti) - Demands to change the regime in Syria is a direct road that would increase the number of human lives, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a meeting with his Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger on Wednesday.

"It's possible to agree on anything, the most important thing is to sit down at the table for talks, which some opposition [leaders] in Syria refuse to do because they are talked out of holding them by some external players," Lavrov said, adding: "We need to call everyone who is shooting right now in Syria to sit down at the table for talks."

Lavrov believes that setting preliminary conditions to talks in order to change the regime in Syria will create a path to a full-blown civil war.

The United States and other Western countries have demanded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down and hand power over to the opposition.

The Arab League has been at the forefront of regional efforts to end violence in Syria. The group put forward a plan that Assad agreed to in December, and then sent monitors to Syria.

The League withdrew its monitoring mission from Syria in January because the regime failed to end the bloodshed.

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