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Russia's Lavrov says new Syria talks to start in Geneva, denies Moscow is softening its stance

Russia's foreign minister says Russian and U.S. diplomats are meeting with U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for more talks on the Syrian civil war.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also says Americans are wrong to see Russia as softening its position on Syria. Russia, he says, only agreed to take part in the talks on condition there be no demand for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.

"We are not taking part in any negotiations on the fate of Assad," Lavrov said Sunday. He said the talks were to begin Sunday in Geneva.

Lavrov met last week with Brahimi and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Afterward, Clinton said they were committed to trying again to get both sides in the Syrian conflict to talk about a political transition.