Russia shrugs off reports about Syrian opposition refusal to attend Moscow talks

Russia's foreign minister says he expects the prospective Syria peace talks in Moscow to be a success despite reports about some key opposition groups' refusal to attend.

Sergey Lavrov on Friday cast those reports as part of "tactical maneuvering" ahead of the negotiations, but he wouldn't say whom Moscow expects to see at the talks.

Russia, which has staunchly backed Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the nation's civil war, hopes to host the talks later this month between the government and the mainstream opposition. The effort could help Moscow raise its international profile amid tensions with the West over Ukraine.

Moscow has said that the government could be represented by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem or other officials, but Assad himself would be unlikely to participate.