Saturday, June 2, 2012

US reaches out to Syria's allies in Russia

BEIRUT (AP) — Washington reached out to Syria's most important ally and protector Saturday, urging Russia to join a coordinated effort to resolve the deadly conflict as the violence spilled across the border into Lebanon, a senior State Department official said.

The international community has been frustrated by the failure of a U.N.-brokered peace plan to stop the bloodshed. Fears also have risen the violence could spread and provoke a regional conflagration.

Already clashes have broken out between pro- and anti-Syrian groups in northern Lebanon, with at least eight people killed late Friday and early Saturday, Lebanese security officials said.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton discussed the situation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a telephone call on Saturday, a senior State Department official said.
"They both agreed that we have to work together," said the official, who provided details of the private discussion on condition of anonymity. "Her message to him was that we have to start working together to help Syrians with a serious political transition strategy."

Clinton said U.S. and Russian officials should engage diplomatically to come up with ideas in Moscow, Washington, New York and "wherever we need to," according to the official."

Russia has refused to support any move that could lead to foreign intervention in Syria, Moscow's last significant ally in the Middle East. Russia, along with China, has twice used its veto power to shield Syria from U.N. sanctions. Read More