Syria deputy FM Muqdad travels to Moscow: airport source
The Syrian deputy foreign minister, Faisal Muqdad, was headed for Moscow, an airport source in Beirut told AFP on Wednesday, amid reports of a US-Russian initiative for a transition in Syria.
"Accompanied by foreign ministry official Ahmed Arnus, Muqdad's Aeroflot flight to Moscow took off from Beirut airport at midnight (2200 GMT)" Tuesday, the airport source said, on condition of anonymity.
French daily Le Figaro has reported that the new initiative would see President Bashar al-Assad staying in power until 2014 while preventing him from further renewing his mandate.
Muqdad's visit to Moscow comes as UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi visits Syria in a bid to persuade the warring parties to negotiate an end to the conflict in which monitors say 45,000 people have been killed.
Brahimi himself is to hold talks in Moscow on Saturday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency. The foreign ministry said Brahimi had requested the meeting.
The UN-Arab League envoy met with Assad on Monday and a day later with three opposition groups tolerated by the regime, but diplomats say he has so far made little headway.
On December 6, Brahimi met in Dublin with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss possible solutions to the Syrian crisis.
No details of the Dublin discussion have been released.
© 2012 AFP