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US and Russia Unable to Find Common Ground on Syria

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. and Russia agree that the time has come to end the year-long violent crackdown on pro-democracy forces in Syria.

However, their different approaches on finding a solution have created a stalemate that is giving Syrian President Bashar al-Assad more time to crush his enemies.

According to the Obama administration, the Syrian government is completely at fault.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the civilians are at the mercy of al-Assad's "military machine" committing "premeditated murders."

Clinton's counterpart, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, argues that while the Syrian government isn't totally blameless for the deaths of 7,500 people, opposition fighters and terrorists joined by al Qaeda bear some of the responsibility for the violence.

The two sides have gotten no closer to a resolution since Russia and China voted down a United Nations Security Council resolution last February that called for al-Assad to cede power to a transitional government.  A follow-up resolution proposed by the U.S. that lessened the demand was also rejected by Moscow and Beijing.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is pleading with all countries to set aside their differences to help Syria "pull back from the brink of a deeper catastrophe."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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