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Dec 27, 8:03 AM EST

Syria 'ready to participate' in Moscow peace talks

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BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian state media says the government is prepared to attend peace talks that Moscow plans to hold next month.

On Saturday it cited a foreign ministry official as saying that the government is "ready to participate in preparatory, advisory meetings in Moscow" that would "answer the aspirations of Syrians to find an exit from the crisis," in a series of written messages alerted on television.

State media did not name the foreign official.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that it hoped to host peace talks after Jan. 20 between the Syrian government and its fractured opposition.

Syria is in the fourth year of a conflict that has claimed over 200,000 lives and displaced a third of its population.

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