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Syrian opposition seeks Russian help in talks

Wednesday - 2/12/2014, 10:41am  ET

Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gennady Gatilov, center, leaves after a meeting with the UN Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, the second round of negotiation between the Syrian government and the opposition in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday , Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Keystone,Salvatore Di Nolfi)

GENEVA (AP) -- The Syrian opposition is urging Russia to take a more forceful stand with the Syrian government to help kickstart faltering peace talks in Geneva.

Anas al-Abdeh, a member of the opposition's negotiating team in Geneva said Wednesday they expect Russia -- a key ally of Syria's President Bashar Assad -- to put pressure on the government delegation to show flexibility at the talks.

The two sides have been unable to agree on a common agenda for the second round of talks that started Monday. The U.N. said that a meeting between senior U.S. and Russian officials -- who are backing the process -- with U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will be held Thursday, a day before it was originally planned.

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