Reuters 14:04, January 26, 2015
Low expectations as Moscow hosts Syria talks

Syrian opposition representatives met in Moscow on Monday at the start of a meeting which the Damascus government will join later this week in efforts to revive peace talks.

Nearly four years into a war that has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions, even the Russian hosts accept there is little chance of a breakthrough at the conference, spurned by most opposition groups.

No senior Russian officials are due to take part but one senior official said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov might join the conference later this week if the initial signs are good.

The initial talks in Moscow will be between opposition groups. Syrian government representatives are expected to join only on Wednesday, the penultimate day of the conference.

Russia's longstanding proposals for a peace plan do not require its ally President Bashar al-Assad to leave power, though his main opponents consider this the basis for any talks.

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