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US hopeful as Russia endorses Annan plan for Syria
US hopeful as Russia endorses Annan plan for Syria, but divisions persist on Assad's future
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The Obama administration is hailing Russia's endorsement of a mediation effort aimed at stopping Syria's bloody crackdown on protesters, which has killed more than 8,000 people in the last year.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. was pleased with what she called an "increasing convergence of views" in the U.N. Security Council. Russia had previously resisted calls for tough international action against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Nuland said a strong statement from the Security Council could bolster Kofi Annan's negotiation effort.

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