Syria to attend Geneva peace conference, FM says

Syria to attend Geneva peace conference, FM says

BAGHDAD - Agence France-Presse
Syria to attend Geneva peace conference, FM says

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on May 8, 2013, shows Syrian Foreign Minister Waled Moualem (L) and his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi speaking to journalists after a meeting on May 7, 2013 in the Syrian capital, Damascus. AFP PHOTO / SANA

Syria's foreign minister said on Sunday that his government will take part in a peace conference in Geneva, terming it a "good opportunity for a political solution" to the civil war in Syria.

Walid Muallem said during a news conference in Baghdad that he had told his counterpart Hoshyar Zebari and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of the decision during the previously unannounced visit to Baghdad.

Muallem told reporters that President Bashar al-Assad's regime had agreed "in principle to participate in the international conference which is supposed to be convened in Geneva".

"We think... that the international conference represents a good opportunity for a political solution to the crisis in Syria." Muallem made the Baghdad visit on the same day Iraqi authorities searched a Syria-bound aircraft that had flown from Moscow through Iranian airspace into Iraq, Nasser Bandar, the head of Iraq's civil aviation authority, told AFP.

No prohibited items were found, Bandar said.