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Syria says it will attend US, Russia-backed peace talks 'in principle'

Hadi Mizban / AP

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, right, and his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem pose for photos during a meeting in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sunday.

BAGHDAD - Syria's government will "in principle" attend multilateral talks planned for June in Geneva and believes the conference will be an opportunity to resolve the country's conflict, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Sunday.

Russia and the United States are sponsoring a proposed peace conference planned for next month on the war, which has killed 80,000 people and risks spilling over its borders and stirring regional sectarian violence.

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A look back at the conflict that has overtaken the country.

"Syria will, in principle, participate in the international conference planned for June in Geneva," Moallem told reporters after talks with his Iraqi counterpart in Baghdad. "We believe the meeting presents a good opportunity to resolve the Syrian crisis."

"No power on earth can decide on the future of Syria. Only the Syrian people have the right to do so," he added.

Washington is pushing opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad to unite before the conference, but the fractious group has been hampered by power struggles during talks in Istanbul over their leadership during the past few days. 

Senior opposition leaders say their coalition is likely to attend the peace conference, but they doubt the meeting will result in their key demand, which is an agreement for Assad to leave office. 

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