Posted: Jan 23, 2014 7:29 AM
Updated: Jan 23, 2014 7:32 AM
GENEVA (AP) Syria's government says fighting terrorism not peace talks are its priority, dismissing the Western-backed opposition and any attempts at outside intervention.
Thursday's comments from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem cast doubt on U.N. efforts this week to chart a path out of Syria's civil war.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. mediator, has said he would meet separately with both sides in Geneva a day after a testy opening to U.N.-sponsored peace talks.
But al-Moallem, who is in Switzerland, said the Syrian National Coalition didn't represent the opposition and any efforts toward a political resolution to three years of fighting were premature.
The priority is "to fight terrorism and this paves the way for the start of the political process," he said, according to Syria's state news agency.