Russia rebuffs Clinton on Syria

Sep 08, 2012, 11:32 AM EDT
In this Friday, Sept 7, 2012 photo, Free Syrian Army fighters run after attacking a Syrian Army tank during fighting in the Izaa district in Aleppo, Syria.
AP Photo/ Manu Brabo

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AP) — Russia has soundly rejected U.S. calls for increased pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to relinquish power.

While in Russia's Far East on Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to prod Moscow into supporting U.N. action to end the crisis in Syria. She also expressed hope that Congress would repeal Cold War-era trade restrictions on Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Clinton on the sidelines of a meeting of Pacific Rim leaders.

After that meeting, Lavrov told reporters that Moscow is opposed to U.S.-backed penalties against the Assad government, in addition to new ones against Iran over its nuclear program, because they harm Russian commercial interests.