UPDATE 1-Brahimi holds "constructive" talks with U.S. and Russia on Syria crisis

Sun Dec 9, 2012 12:29pm EST

GENEVA Dec 9 (Reuters) - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said after talks in Geneva with senior U.S. and Russian officials on Sunday that they had agreed it was still possible to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

"The meeting was constructive and held in a spirit of cooperation. It explored avenues to move forward a peaceful process and mobilise greater international action in favour of a political solution to the Syrian crisis," Brahimi said in a statement issued after all-day closed-door talks in Geneva.

Brahimi, joint special representative of the United Nations and Arab League, met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns at an undisclosed location in the Swiss city. It followed his talks this week with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

"All three parties re-affirmed their common assessment that the situation in Syria was bad and getting worse. They stressed that a political process to end the crisis in Syria was necessary and still possible," Brahimi said.

They agreed a political solution would be based on core elements of the final statement issued by major and regional powers after their Geneva meeting last June 30 under the chairmanship of former mediator Kofi Annan, he said.

On June, 30, the international powers agreed that a transitional government should be set up in Syria to end the bloodshed but left open the question of what part President Bashar al-Assad might play in the process.

"Everyone agreed that the situation is so bad that something should be done. The parties have agreed this meeting is a first step in implementing the June 30 communique," a diplomatic source told Reuters. "There was no breakthrough, just discussions."

Brahimi said the Russian and U.S. officials agreed to meet again with him "in the near future".

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