US, Russia discuss peace plan for worsening Syria

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By BRADLEY KLAPPER, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — U.S. and Russian diplomats are meeting Monday to try to accelerate peace efforts in Syria, where the conflict seems to be worsening.

Capping eight days in the Middle East and Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Paris see Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf) and exchange updates on their respective diplomatic efforts.

Peace talks are planned for Geneva next month. The United States and its Arab allies are pushing Syria's fractured opposition to participate. Russia is pledging to deliver Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

But there is little evidence that either side is ready to halt the violence that has killed more than 70,000 people since 2011. President Barack Obama has demanded that Assad leave power; Russia has stood by its closest ally in the Arab world.

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