Syrian Minister: Government Open to Peace Talks

Posted December 31st, 2012 at 7:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The embattled Syrian government has welcomed any plans that would lead to peace talks to end the bloodshed in the country.

Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi was responding Monday to the U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who said Sunday that he has a plan that is acceptable to world powers.

Brahimi said the plan calls for all sides in Syria to end hostilities, enter into a national dialogue, and form a transitional government leading to new elections. But the plan says nothing about the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, an omission that appears to have stalled its progress.

Rebels refuse to negotiate unless Mr. Assad steps down and leaves the country. The Syrian president insists on fighting what he calls “foreign-backed terrorists.”

Meanwhile, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday that 30 tortured bodies were found in Barzeh district of the capital, Damascus. The bodies were not immediately identified.