Dec 24, 6:58 AM EST

Moscow, Damascus discuss plans for Syria talks

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's Foreign Ministry says a senior Russian diplomat and the Syrian ambassador have discussed prospects for talks in Moscow between the Syrian government and the opposition.

The ministry said Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with Syrian Ambassador Riyad Haddad on Wednesday to discuss a political settlement of the Syrian crisis, and, in particular, Russia's proposal to host negotiations between the conflicting parties. The ministry wouldn't say when the talks could take place.

Haddad was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency that the consultations are continuing and the date hasn't been set yet.

Russia, which has staunchly supported Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the nation's civil war, has recently offered to arrange peace talks between the government and the mainstream opposition without preconditions.

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