FM: Syria is serious about peace talkss

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This image from amateur video obtained by a group which calls itself Ugarit News, which is consistent with AP reporting, shows rebel fighters in Daraa, Syria, Tuesday, May 28, 2013. Europe's decision to allow member states to arm Syrian rebels and Russia's renewed pledge to send advanced missiles to the Syria regime could spur an arms race in an already brutal civil war and increasingly turn it into a East-West proxy fight. Britain promises not to transfer any arms before diplomacy is given a chance in Syria peace talks expected next month, while a top rebel commander says he needs Western anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles now to prevent more regime gains on the battlefield. (AP Photo/Ugarit News via AP video)

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's foreign minister says his government will attend planned Syrian peace talks "with every good intention" to reach a deal. But he says the Syrian opposition is setting preconditions.

Walid al-Moallem said in a TV interview Wednesday that U.N.-sponsored peace talks, tentatively to be launched next month in Geneva, present a "real opportunity" for ending the country's civil war.

Al-Moallem says Syria rejects the opposition's apparent condition for attending talks, that President Bashar Assad step down at the start of any transition period. Al-Moallem told the Lebanese TV station Al-Mayadeen that "only the Syrian people can decide who is to rule Syria."