Dublin hosts talks on Syrian crisis
Russia and the United States will seek a "creative" solution to drag Syria back from the brink, the international mediator on Syria said today after meeting US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Dublin.
The comments by Lakhdar Brahimi, who called the unscheduled meeting on the sidelines of an international conference, suggested a new coordination among the major powers might be emerging on Syria after months of sometimes bitter disagreement.
After the talks, which lasted about 40 minutes, Mr Brahimi said he would seek peace based on the Geneva Declaration which calls for a transitional administration.
"We haven't taken any sensational decisions," Mr Brahimi told reporters after the meeting at a gathering of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). He called Syria's situation "very, very, very bad".
"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.
"We have also talked a little bit about how we can work out hopefully a process that will get Syria back from the brink. To put together a peace process that will be based on Geneva."
Mrs Clinton held a bilateral meeting with Mr Lavrov, and Mr Brahimi met separately with Mr Lavrov before the three sat down together.
Mrs Clinton told a news conference the US had been trying hard to work with Russia to stop the bloodshed in Syria and start a political transition towards a post-Assad Syrian future.
The Dublin talks come ahead of a meeting of the Western-backed "Friends of Syria" group in Marrakech next week which is expected to boost support for anti-Assad forces.
The rebels have made advances across Syria in recent weeks and fighting raged on Wednesday in an arc of suburbs on the eastern outskirts of Damascus.
Dr Assad's family has ruled for 42 years and the president has vowed to fight to the death in a conflict that has killed an estimated 38,000 people and risks sucking in other countries.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said he was delighted Dublin could facilitate the talks.
“As we all know, what has been happening in Syria for quite some time is absolutely unacceptable. The slaughter of people, the humanitarian situation,” said Mr Gilmore, chairperson-in-office of the OSCE.
“I’m very pleased that this meeting in Dublin has become the venue for what is a real key meeting in the Syrian crisis.”