Hopes for Syria breakthrough faint as U.N. envoy visits Russia
(Reuters) - The international mediator seeking to end the 21-month-old conflict in Syria met Russia's foreign minister in Moscow on Saturday after talks in Damascus but expectations of progress toward a negotiated solution were low.
U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's talks with Sergei Lavrov occurred a day after the main Syrian opposition group rebuffed diplomatic advances by Russia and firmly reiterated it would not negotiate with President Bashar al-Assad's government.
Brahimi is trying to build on an agreement reached in Geneva in June by world powers, including the United States and Russia, that called for the creation of a transitional government but left Assad's role unclear.
The mediator, who met Assad and others on a five-day trip to Syria, is to meet together with senior U.S. and Russian diplomats in the coming weeks, after two such meetings this month that produced no signs of a breakthrough.