Syrian government welcomes more peace talks

Syria’s government said on Sunday it was ready for further peace talks with the opposition and that it was intent on a political solution to the five-year conflict.

“Syria … is ready to continue the Syrian-Syrian dialogue without any preconditions … and without foreign interference, with the support of the United Nations,” state news agency SANA quoted an official in the foreign ministry as saying.

The U.N. hopes to convene a new round of intra-Syrian peace talks in Geneva in August, its Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said this week.

The United States and Russia, which back opposing sides in the conflict, are meanwhile to discuss an American proposal for closer military cooperation and intelligence sharing on Syria to combat extremist groups.

Secretary of State John Kerry said this month that Washington and Damascus ally Moscow had reached a common understanding on the steps needed to get Syria’s peace process back on track.