As Assad regime weakens, US, Russia discuss Syria's future

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DUBLIN — Diplomatic efforts to end Syria’s civil war moved forward today with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joining Russia’s foreign minister and the U.N. peace envoy to the Arab country for extraordinary three-way talks that suggested Washington and Moscow might finally unite behind a strategy as the Assad regime weakens.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said intelligence reports raise fears that an increasingly desperate Syrian President Bashar Assad is considering using his chemical weapons arsenal — which the U.S. and Russia agree is unacceptable.

On the sidelines of a human rights conference, Clinton gathered with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and mediator Lakhdar Brahimi to look for a strategy the international community could rally around to end Syria’s 21-month civil war. The former Cold War foes have fought bitterly over how to address the conflict, but Clinton stressed before the meeting that they shared a common goal.

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