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  2/26/2013, Adar 16, 5773

Russia to US: Convince Opposition to Hold Talks


Russia's Foreign Minister said Tuesday that Moscow will urge Washington to press the Syrian opposition to hold talks with the Syrian government without preconditions, but also admitted that they must tread lightly amid fears that extremists now have the upper hand among the leading opposition groups. 

"In our contacts with other countries that can influence the parties in Syria, we have noticed a growing understanding of the need to influence both the government and, first of all, the opposition so that they do not come up with unrealistic requests as preconditions for the start of dialogue," FM Sergei Lavrov said before heading to Berlin to meet with the U.S. Secretary of State.

"This is what we will discuss with John Kerry today. During our latest phone conversation I had the impression that he has an understanding of the acuteness of the situation in Syria," he said. 

Russia wants the U.S. to urge the opposition to drop their demands that President Bashar al-Assad leave power before they sit down for talks.