(DUBLIN) — The U.S. stepped up efforts Thursday to try and reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with her Russian counterpart during a human rights conference in Dublin, Ireland.
Moscow has been reluctant to get on board with most of the international community in calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down even as reports heat up that the Syrian government could be on the verge of using lethal nerve gas on its enemies.
Clinton spoke with both Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as well as United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi about jump-starting a process that might establish a genuine ceasefire after several failed attempts.
Brahimi indicated no major breakthrough occurred between Clinton and Lavrov that could be considered a plan although “we have agreed that the situation is bad and we have agreed that we must continue to work together to see how we can find creative ways of bringing this problem under control and hopefully starting to solve it.”
The mini-conference with Brahimi was actually the second time the U.S. and Russia diplomats spoke on Thursday.
Clinton told reporters, “We have been trying hard to work with Russia to try to stop the bloodshed in Syria and start a political transition for a post-Assad Syrian future.”
The crisis began in March 2011 with Syrians demanding democratic reform. It has since escalated into a major armed conflict, costing tens of thousands of lives with Washington now fearing that al-Assad is desperate enough to use deadly chemical weapons to remain in power.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sugam Pokharel and AJ Willingham, CNN
Alanna Petroff, CNN