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BEIRUT, December 10. /TASS/. Russian presidential envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov arrived in Damascus on Wednesday.
The Syrian government’s sources said Bogdanov would meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and hold consultations at the Syrian Foreign Ministry “to step up the political settlement of the crisis”.
On December 5-6, Bogdanov made a working trip to Lebanon.
Speaking in Beirut, he said Russia facilitated “the improvement of contacts between the Syrian government and the opposition.”
“We maintain contacts with the government, the internal and external opposition. Our task is to improve consultations in order to prepare serious talks without preconditions. The Syrians should gather and start the dialogue. This will make it possible to bring closer the positions on all issues,” he said.
At the same time, he said, “The Syrian people will decide on Syria’s fate and the country’s future.”
Bogdanov met with members of the National Coordination Committee led by general coordinator Hassan Abdul Azim. On December 7, Bogdanov held talks with chairman of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces Hadi al-Bahra. During the meetings, the parties noted “the need to settle the Syrian crisis by political means based on the Geneva communique of June 30, 2012”.
On December 9, Bogdanov discussed prospects for promoting the inter-Syrian dialogue on the basis of the Geneva communique of June 30, 2012 with the Syrian delegation. “Russia confirmed the proposal to the Syrian government and the opposition for holding contacts in Moscow as the step towards stepping up the political settlement in Syria,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.