(CAIRO) — The United Nations-Arab League mediator in charge of trying to find a solution to the two-year conflict in Syria expressed optimism on Tuesday that officials from President Bashar al-Assad’s government and representatives of the opposition will attend a peace summit being brokered by Washington and Moscow.
Speaking in Cairo, Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters, “The Syrian people are building great hopes on the conference, as the opposition prepares itself to take part and likewise the Syrian regime prepares to take part in this conference.”
Brahimi’s hopes hinge on whether Damascus actually sends officials to the summit scheduled for early June. Recently, al-Assad expressed little enthusiasm for the talks, saying there are too many groups fighting in Syria to gain a consensus as well as a ceasefire.
However, at least one member of the opposition said on Tuesday he’d be open to discussions with al-Assad’s government.
Moaz al-Khtaib, the former president of the Syrian National Coalition, maintained that rebel fighters would opt for a political situation to the crisis if Damascus’ intentions are genuine.
He added, “All the opposition forces want is a solution for the Syrian people. Rebels have nothing to lose. They are determined to stay to the end. But we are facing unprecedented suffering.”
The death toll from the two-year conflict ranges from 80,000 to 120,000 fatalities.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Claire Moran, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, Holly Yan and Euan McKirdy, CNN Newswire