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US and Russia look far apart on Syria

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Laaska News  Jun. 30, 2012

The top US and Russian diplomats have failed to bridge their differences over the future of Syria.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in St. Petersburg on Friday before leaving Russia for Switzerland.

Her visit came on the eve of a multi-national conference that will be held on Saturday in Geneva aimed at ending violence in the Middle Eastern country.

Lavrov told reporters that he had felt a change in Clinton’s position on Syria and that discussions with her were “fruitful”. He also expressed hope for a breakthrough at Geneva. But US officials said the two failed to reach a consensus.

Attendees at the Geneva conference will also include Russia. They will discuss a transitional plan for Syria, as well as the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, which is a point of contention between Russia and the US.

The US government has said Assad must step down as soon as possible, while Russia insists that outsiders should not interfere with Syria’s internal affairs.

Jun. 30, 2012

NHK.