Syria's foreign minister says it is ready to attend peace talks later this month in Geneva but that the government wants to see lists of the opposition groups who will attend and the "terrorist" groups that will not.

State news agency SANA says Walid al-Moallem made his comments Saturday while meeting in Damascus with U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura.

The Syrian government refers to all those battling to overthrow President Bashar Assad as terrorists and has said the talks should focus on battling terrorism.

The opposition wants Assad to step down as part of any peace deal.

The U.N. is urging the two sides to meet Jan. 25 in an effort to end the conflict, which has killed more than 250,000 people and caused a massive refugee crisis.