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Russians Meet Assad as Europe Joins Gulf Pulling Diplomats

Several European Union and Persian Gulf countries recalled their ambassadors from Damascus, increasing diplomatic isolation for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as he conferred with Russian officials on a way to resolve the crisis.

Assad asked Russia to broker talks with opposition groups, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday after meeting with the Syrian leader in Damascus. Assad assigned his deputy, Farouk al-Sharaa, to lead the negotiations, Lavrov told reporters in Moscow today.