US works with Russia on Syria, but wants Assad out

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today that the United States and Russia are committed to trying again to get President Bashar Assad’s regime and the rebel opposition to talk about a political transition in Syria, setting aside U.S.-Russian disagreements that have paralyzed the international community.

Clinton stressed that the U.S. would insist once again that Assad’s departure be a key part of that transition.

In her first comments on the surprise three-way diplomatic talks held Thursday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, Clinton said Washington and Moscow agreed to support a new mediation effort Brahimi would lead. She added that much work remained and suggesting that neither side shifted its fundamental position.

Neither Assad nor any opposition group has agreed to a cease-fire and talks. Both sides believe they can resolve the conflict militarily.

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