US and Russia to discuss Syria at Dublin conference

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart are to discuss the Syrian crisis in Dublin.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the event would be a key meeting on Syria, where he described the slaughter of people as unacceptable.

Secretary Clinton, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and United Nations envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi will meet while in the capital for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

There is a major security operation around the city for the two-day conference, which is being attended by some of the biggest political names in the world.

Mr Gilmore, chairperson-in-office of the OSCE, said: “I am very glad that this meeting here in Dublin has been able to facilitate this very important meeting between the secretary of state of the United States, the foreign minister of Russia and the UN special envoy on Syria because as we all know what has been happening in Syria for quite some time is absolutely unacceptable.

“The slaughter of people, the humanitarian situation.

“I’m very pleased that this meeting in Dublin has become the venue for what is a real key meeting in the Syrian crisis.”

Russia, one of Syria’s closest allies, is believed to be key to quelling a 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in which around 20,000 people have been killed.

Earlier, Secretary Clinton thanked Ireland for hosting the conference and for its year-long chair.

“We applaud your work as chair and office of the OSCE to reaffirm this organisation’s core principals and strengthen it’s capacities to promote peace and security, champion democracy and defend universal human rights and dignity,” she said.

During her two-day visit to Ireland, Secretary Clinton will also deliver a speech on global human rights, meet President Michael D Higgins and hold talks with Mr Gilmore and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

She travels to the North tomorrow.

The OSCE Ministerial Council is the largest international meeting organised in Ireland and is the culmination of our year-long chairmanship of the body.

Motorists have been warned to expect some delays around the RDS and Dublin Castle, where roads have been closed.

More than 50 foreign ministers, including Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague, and 1,500 delegates from over 70 countries and international organisations are taking part.

Key topics being discussed include freedom of the media, tackling racism and xenophobia, good governance, trans-national threats and Helsinki +40, which offers ministers the opportunity to adopt a more forward-looking and strategic approach for the OSCE ahead of its 40th anniversary in 2015.

It is costing more than three million euro to stage – excluding Garda costs - but organisers estimate it will boost Dublin’s economy by €2.35m.

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