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Russia and United States remain split ahead of Syria talks

  • Areas of "difficulty and difference" remain between Russia and the United States ahead of key talks on the crisis in Syria, according to U.S. officials.

    The comment followed a statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said there was a "very good chance" of reaching a consensus at talks due to be held later in the day in Geneval.

    Lavrov spoke after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    Friday was one of the deadliest days of the Syrian conflict with the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying there were 117 civilian deaths on Thursday.

    The conference in Geneva has been called by joint UN and Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, as violence escalates in Syria.

    The latest diplomatic efforts on Syria cannot succeed without Russia's support.

    Russia’s role is crucial because it supplies Syria with weapons and offers political support to President Bashar al-Assad.