(Reuters) - Syria is ready to hold talks with its armed opponents, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday, in the clearest offer yet of negotiations with rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
But Moualem said Syria would continue its fight "against terrorism", a reference to its conflict with anti-Assad rebels in which the United Nations says 70,000 people have been killed.
"We are ready for dialogue with everyone who wants it ... Even with those who have weapons in their hands. Because we believe that reforms will not come through bloodshed but only through dialogue," Russia's Itar-Tass news agency quoted Moualem as saying.
He was speaking in Moscow, a staunch ally of Assad, where he was meeting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.