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Russia sees no chance of Assad stepping down

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Russia acknowledged on Saturday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will not be persuaded to quit but insisted there is still a chance of finding a political solution to the 21-month conflict. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives for talks with peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Moscow on December 29, 2012. Russia acknowledged that Syria's President Bashar al-Assad would not be persuaded to leave power, but nonetheless insisted there was still a chance of finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned Syria was facing a choice between "hell or the political process" after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on his end-of-year bid to accelerate moves to halt a conflict that monitors say has now killed more than 45,000 people.

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