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Clinton Urges 'Concerted Push' On Syria

December 07, 2012

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called on all international players with influence in Syria to make a 'concerted push' together to bring the 21-month-old conflict to an end.

Clinton on December 6 discussed Syria with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and the UN and Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on the sidelines of a security conference in Ireland's capital, Dublin.

Clinton, speaking on December 7 in Belfast, the capital of British-ruled Northern Ireland, said there had been no important 'breakthrough' during the Dublin talks.

'I don't think anyone believes that there was some great breakthrough. No one should have any illusions about how hard this remains, but all of us with any influence on the process, with any influence on the regime or the opposition, needs to be engaged with [UN and Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar] Brahimi for a concerted sincere push to see what is possible in the face of the advancing developments on the ground,' Clinton said.

However, Clinton said the United States and Russia have agreed to support mediation efforts with all parties in Syria to bring about a political transition.

Clinton also said President Bashar al-Assad must leave power to secure a democratic future for Syria.

'The United States stands with the Syrian people in insisting that any transition process results in a unified, democratic Syria in which all citizens are represented,' Clinton said.

Washington and Moscow have disagreed throughout Syria's 21-month civil war over how to curb the violence. Russia and China have been Assad's strongest supporters during the crisis.

Meanwhile, Syrian rebels have declared Damascus International Airport a "military zone." A spokesman for the rebels said on December 7 that the airport south of the capital was a 'legitimate target' and warned civilians and airlines to approach it 'at their own risk.'

Foreign airlines suspended flights to Damascus last week as fighting between rebels and government forces intensified.

At least 40,000 people are estimated to have died since the 21-month-long uprising began.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

Source: concerted-push-on-syria/24792426.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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