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Russia: Syrian government may join talks

on May 24, 2013 10:00 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian government has agreed “in principle” to attend a conference proposed by Russia and the United States on ending the Arab country’s conflict, Russia’s foreign ministry said today.

It was the first confirmation that President Bashar Assad’s government would be willing to take part in the talks with the opposition.

But despite the announcement from Moscow, one of Assad’s staunchest allies, Damascus has not offered any definitive statement on the proposed talks.

The Moscow announcement came after days of talks there between Syria’s deputy Foreign Minister, Faysal Mekdad, and Russian officials.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in televised remarks today that the Syrian government has “agreed in principle” to participate in the conference in Geneva, which is expected within two weeks.

He added, however, that it is impossible to set the date for the conference at this point because there is “no clarity about who will speak on behalf of the opposition and what powers they will have.”

North Korean envoy: Peace not promised

BEIJING (AP) — China’s state media says an envoy from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned there is no guarantee of peace on the Korean Peninsula, but also stressed that his country is willing to hold talks with all sides to find a solution.

The Xinhua News Agency quoted North Korean Vice Marshal Choe Ryong Hae as making the comments today to Gen. Fan Changlong in Beijing on the third day of a fence-mending visit to his country’s most important ally.

Choe delivered a letter from Kim to Chinese President Xi Jinping today and told him Pyongyang would take steps to rejoin stalled six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, in an apparent victory for Beijing's efforts to coax its unruly ally into lowering tensions.

Choe offered no details on how North Korea planned to resume talks.

Murder suspect arrested, police say

PRAGUE (AP) — Police say an American man suspected of killing a family of four in the Czech Republic has been arrested in the United States.

Brno regional police Chief Leos Trzil said today that Kevin Dahlgren was arrested at the airport in Washington, D.C.

The suspect fled to the U.S. after the victims — identified by neighbors as a married couple and their two sons— were found by firefighters who came to tackle a fire in a house in Brno, the country’s second-largest city.

Police said Czech authorities will seek Dahlgren’s extradition to stand trial in the Czech Republic.

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