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Senior Russian official: Moscow trying to arrange Syria faction summit without preconditions

  • Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, left, meets with Russia's deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, right, at the Lebanese foreign ministry, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Dec. 4, 2014. Bogdanov is in Lebanon to meet with Lebanese officials. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, left, meets with Russia's deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, right, at the Lebanese foreign ministry, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Dec. 4, 2014. Bogdanov is in Lebanon to meet with Lebanese officials. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

  • Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salam, right, meets with Russia's deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, left, at the government palace, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Dec. 4, 2014. Bogdanov is in Lebanon to meet with Lebanese officials. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salam, right, meets with Russia's deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, left, at the government palace, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, Dec. 4, 2014. Bogdanov is in Lebanon to meet with Lebanese officials. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

A senior Russian official says his country is trying to arrange a meeting between Syria's warring sides without preconditions.

Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov says Moscow is conducting preliminary consultations for such talks.

Bogdanov, who is Moscow's special envoy to the Middle East, spoke to journalists in Beirut on a visit to the country during which he met with the Lebanese prime minister and other officials.

Moscow is a chief ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and recently hosted Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.