AFP, AL JAZEERA (Qatar), BBC (UK), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

MOSCOW- Russia announced Friday that the Syrian government has agreed in principle to attend an international peace conference. The summit was proposed by Russia and the U.S. and could take place in Geneva, reports the AFP.

"We note with satisfaction that we have received an agreement in principle from Damascus to attend the international conference, in the interest of Syrians themselves finding a political path to resolve the conflict, which is ruinous for the nation and region," said Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev with Assad in 2010. Photo via Kremlin.

According to Al Jazeera, the opposition Syrian National Coalition, which is currently meeting in Istanbul to discuss an interim government, has said it will only go to "Geneva II" if Bashar al-Assad steps down as president.

“Geneva I” took place in June last year and ended in a broad agreement aimed at forming a transitional government in Syria, as well as introducing a long lasting truce, notes the Qatari network. However, this deal was never implemented because of disagreements over Assad’s role in the new government and both sides' refusal to lay down their arms.

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"Allah Protects Syria." Photo by Bertil Videt

This potential conference, says the BBC, aims to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria, based on the final communique of the UN-backed Action Group for Syria meeting in the Swiss city in June 2012.

Reuters writes that Assad has yet to confirm the decision.

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Geopolitics

The New Iraq, Signs Of Hope Amid The Rubble And Reconstruction

How do you rebuild a country decimated by four decades of war and embargoes? Following the withdrawal of the U.S. military, Iraq faces many challenges, from oil revenues captured by the militias and endemic corruption to religious segregation. However, there are glimmers of hope for the country's future.

Street scene in Erbil, Iraq

Théophile Simon

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As he explains the profit-sharing scheme between the world’s major oil companies and his public enterprise, the 50-year-old with thin glasses is suddenly stopped dead in his tracks by the ringing of his telephone. He tries a joke to mask his suddenly worried face: "I'm going to ask you to leave my office for a few moments. If I haven't called you back in 10 minutes, call the police."

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