Russia to hold talks with Syrian opposition, Annan

By the Associated Press | July 2, 2012 | 6:07 AM EDT

This image made from amateur video released by Shaam News Network and accessed Friday, June 29, 2012, purports to show shrouded bodies in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via AP video) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT, DATE, LOCATION OR AUTHENTICITY OF THIS MATERIAL

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia says it will hold talks with two Syrian opposition groups, officials from President Bashar Assad's government, and with UN envoy Kofi Annan later in July.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted by the RIA Novosti agency as saying Monday that the first group headed by opposition leader Michel Kilowill will arrive later this week.

He added that another group with Abdulbaset Sieda, the new head of the Syrian National Council, as its head will visit Moscow after July 10.

An anonymous Russian diplomat also told RIA that Annan is expected in Moscow by mid-July.

The diplomat spoke off the record because he was not authorized to discuss the issue with the press.