Syria says arming rebels will prolong war
BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria plans to attend proposed international peace talks as a means to agree a national government of "genuine partnership" but will not participate in order to hand over power to the opposition, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday.
Moualem said if the proposed talks in Geneva went ahead there should be a ceasefire and authorities in Damascus were ready to discuss mechanisms for monitoring it.
He called on Syria's neighbours to stop arming rebels battling to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad and said a decision by Western and Arab countries on Saturday to arms those rebels would prolong the crisis and deepen the bloodshed.
Editing by Janet Lawrence