The Associated Press reports Russia and the U.S. failed to agree on how to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of power. The countries met in advance of a U.N. meeting in Geneva to attempt to figure a way out of the political impasse as Syria remains an important ally of Russia's. The U.N.-brokered plan was accepted today, according to the AP, but left open how to exclude Assad from taking part in a new government.
* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the hopes of finding some way to agree in advance of the Geneva summit on important elements of Kofi Annan's Syria peace plan.
* Lavrov said after meeting that Russia "agreed to look for an agreement that will bring us closer based on a clear understanding of what's written in the Annan plan that (all) sides in Syria need an incentive for a national dialogue," but added it was up to Syria to make decisions on their future.
* In Geneva, progress remained slow. "The Russians have set out a series of objections with the current draft," a diplomat told Reuters. "The Russians are stonewalling quite a bit."
* Reuters reported, Annan expressed frustration with the major powers, admonishing them to "either unite to secure your common interests or divide and surely fail in your own individual way. Without your unity, your common resolve and your action now ... nobody can win and everyone will lose in some way."
* According to the State Department, Clinton spoke at the Consul General's Residence in St. Petersburg, addressing members of Russia's civil society. She told the audience the U.S. believes "the work you do has a direct bearing on Russia's future, whether you're advocating to promote free and fair elections, fight discrimination, protect workers' rights, or other civil society goals."
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.