U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton and UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan on Friday discussed a political transition strategy in Syria, the State Department said, RIA Novosti reported.
"The greatest amount of time, the general focus of the [Clinton-Annan meeting] was on crafting a unified political transition strategy and the importance of gathering international unity behind a plan that can gain traction in Syria," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
"We have been strongly working with, encouraging the Russians to work with us on a common political strategy," she told journalists.
Over 9,000 people have been killed in clashes between the government and opposition forces in Syria since the start of the uprising against the Bashar al-Assad regime, according to UN estimates.
Nuland's statement comes after two massacres in Syria's Houla and Hama in late May and early June that killed dozens, including women and children.
Russia has said the murders in both regions were a "provocation." But while it said it suspected rebel forces of having carried out many of the killings in Houla on May 25, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday the latest massacre was aimed at "undermining the plan of Kofi Annan."
U.S. State Department officials met with Russian Foreign Ministry diplomats in Moscow on Friday to try to hammer out a common position on the escalating crisis in Syria.
Russia - along with China - has twice vetoed UN resolutions against Damascus over what it says is a pro-rebel bias. Moscow has, however, fully backed Annan's faltering peace plan for Syria.
The crisis in Syria began last March with a series of peaceful demonstrations against the 11-year-rule of Assad, but quickly descended into violence. And the latest massacres have brought closer the specter of an all-out sectarian conflict between the ruling Alawite minority and the Sunni Muslim majority. Assad and key government and security officials are members of the Alawite faith, an offshoot of Shia Islam, the dominant religion in neighboring Iran.