A senior member of the Syrian opposition said on Monday that the Syrian National Council had not received any formal invitation to attend talks with Syria's authorities in Russia, and would decline if one arrived.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said the Syrian authorities had agreed to talks in Russia, and that it hoped the opposition would agree.

"We have not received any offer like that officially and I think, if such an offer exists, it will be no more than an attempt to influence the [UN] Security Council. But I say clearly that our position has not changed and it is that there is no dialogue with [President Bashar Assad]," Abdel Baset Seda, a member of the Syrian council's executive committee, told Reuters.

He was speaking by telephone from New York, where he was following the Arab League's bid to win support from the Security Council for its Syria peace plan.