US, Russian FM to Meet on Syrian Conflict

Posted December 6th, 2012 at 6:15 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi Thursday to discuss the Syrian conflict.

A senior U.S. official said the trio will meet in Dublin, Ireland on the sidelines of a human rights conference.

The meeting comes as Germany's Cabinet agreed to send Patriot air defense missiles and troops to Turkey to help protect the NATO member from possible Syrian attacks.

The agreement must now be approved by the German Parliament, which is expected to endorse the measure. The Netherlands and the U.S. also are expected to help with deploying the Patriot missiles in the next few weeks.

NATO decided to send the Patriot missile-defense system to Turkey earlier this week.

Turkey requested the help from NATO after Syrian missiles landed on its side of the border in October.

Russia has said NATO is exaggerating the threat from Syria and that the October incident was accidental.

NATO officials stress the Patriot system is purely defensive and does not signal any intention to intervene in the Syria conflict.

Secretary of State Clinton said Wednesday the decision sends a “clear message” to Syrian leaders that Turkey has the alliance's full support. She called for President Bashar al-Assad to reach a political settlement with Syria's newly reorganized opposition and warned that the use of chemical weapons by Syria is unacceptable.

“Our concerns are that an increasingly desperate Assad regime might turn to chemical weapons, or might lose control of them to one of the many groups that are now operating within Syria. And so, as part of the absolute unity that we all have on this issue, we have sent an unmistakable message that this would cross a red line and those responsible would be held to account.”