3 Feb 2013

Russian minister and Syrian opposition leader meet

4:05 pm on 3 February 2013

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrovhad his first direct talks with the head of Syria's main opposition grouping.

The meeting with Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib of the National Coalition took place on the sidelines of an international security conference in Munich on Saturday.

Moscow is a long-time ally of President Bashar al-Assad.

"Russia has a certain vision but we welcome negotiations to alleviate the crisis and there are lots of details that need to be discussed," Mr Khatib said after the meeting.

He also met United States vice president Joe Biden and UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

Earlier, Mr Lavrov told the conference Mr Biden's insistence that President Assad must step down was counterproductive.