|German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, right, and Sheikh Moaz Al-Khatib, President of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, shake hands during the Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany, on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. The 49th Munich Security Conference starts Friday afternoon with experts from 90 delegations including US Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)|
Syrian opposition: willing to meet with regime
MUNICH (AP) — Syria’s top opposition leader says he’s willing to sit down for talks with President Bashar Assad’s regime to ‘‘ease the pain of the Syrian people.’’
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Friday, Moaz al-Khatib reiterated an offer first made on Wednesday, which had provoked an outcry from opposition groups that insist Assad must step down first.
Al-Khatib told the gathering of the world’s top diplomats and defense officials that ‘‘as a gesture of good will, we say, just to ease the pain on the Syrian people ... we are ready to sit at the negotiation table with this regime.’’
But he also says the regime should make its own gesture ‘‘by releasing 100 detainees.’’
Al-Khatib is to meet with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the conference on Saturday.