Russia upbeat on Syria conference

Around 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of a popular uprising against Bashar al-Assad in 2011, as per UN estimates.

Updated: Jun 30, 2012, 08:36 AM IST

Moscow: Russia is hoping an international conference on Syria -- to be held in Geneva on Saturday -- will facilitate the country`s progress to peace, the Foreign Ministry said.

There is no alternative to a "peaceful political settlement in Syria", the ministry said.

The conference should consider all the viable mechanisms of ensuring a ceasefire in the Middle Eastern country, the ministry said.

It said they should facilitate the start of a "nationwide political dialogue in Syria between the government and all opposition groups".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Syrian government is ready to withdraw its armed forces from the country`s cities in parallel with the forces of the Syrian opposition.

According to UN estimates, around 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organisation with a network of activists in Syria, has put the death toll at 12,000.

IANS