Jan 21, 12:17 PM EST

Russian FM says Moscow wants Syria peace talks to be representative

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's foreign minister says he hopes the prospective Syria peace talks in Moscow will be broad enough and help advance a settlement.

Sergey Lavrov told Wednesday's press conference that Russian diplomats wouldn't try to mediate the talks expected later this month between the Syrian government and the opposition.

Lavrov said that excessive publicity stymied earlier talks, and Moscow will try to create a more informal atmosphere to help make the negotiations more frank and business-like. He wouldn't say who will attend.

Russia, which has staunchly backed Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the nation's civil war, hopes the talks could raise its international profile amid tensions with the West over Ukraine.

Moscow has said that the government could be represented by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem or other officials.

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