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Syrian Foreign Minister Says Damascus Ready to Participate in Peace Process

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is ready to allow his nation to participate in the international effort to restore peace to his nation after five years of civil war and untold death and destruction. Speaking to reporters in Beijing where he is on an official visit, Foreign Minister Walid Moualem his delegation will be ready to attend talks scheduled for late January in Geneva “as soon as we receive a list of the opposition delegation.” A potential breakthrough occurred last Friday when the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution endorsing a road map for peace. Moualem referred to the conference as a “Syrian to Syrian dialogue…without any foreign interference,” and said its goal was the creation of a unity government. Passage of the resolution was helped by an about-face in the White House in the form of dropping its insistence that Assad be removed from power, a demand rejected by the regime and backed up by its patron Russia.