Syria's foreign minister Walid al-Muallem says that his government is ready to hold talks with the armed opposition to end the violence that has ravaged the country.
"We're ready for a dialogue with anyone who's willing for it," Muallem said in Moscow ahead of talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov on Monday.
"Even with those who carry arms. We are confident that reforms will come about not with the help of bloodshed but through dialogue," he added.
Lavrov, for his part, urged Damascus to hold negotiations with the opposition, saying that "the situation in Syria is at a crossroads now."
The Russian foreign minister also emphasized that Moscow’s stand on Syria, "is not determined by the support of certain people" but by Russia's "care for the future of the Syrian people."
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
Several international human rights organizations have accused foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.
The anti-Syria Western regimes have been calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down, but Russia and China oppose the Western drive to oust the Syrian president.