U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed the spotty connection in Australia for her failure to get in touch with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Ms Clinton was reacting to reports that the high-ranking Russian official was deliberately not picking up the phone on her following numerous attempts on her part to call Mr Lavrov, last reported to be in Australia on his way to a UN gathering on Tuesday in New York.
According to Agence France Presse (AFP), State Department officials have been calling Mr Lavrov's so he and Ms Clinton can speak before the adoption of the Security Council draft resolution that calls on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
The new UN move won the blessing of the Arab League but Russia, a long-time ally of Syria, rejected the resolution and insisted that the United Nations lacks the authority to force the resignation of a country's leader.
The issue was, however, discussed with Mr Lavrov's deputy, Mikhail Bogdanov, who U.S. officials have reached when Mr Lavrov seemed unavailable prior to the UN Tuesday meeting.
Mr Bogdanov talked with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, U.S. officials said.
On her part, Ms Clinton denied that Mr Lavrov was dodging her calls while the latter was in Australia.
She added that connection problems with her Russian counterpart was the main reason they were not able to talk.
"I've actually travelled in Australia and it's sometimes difficult to make connections. I don't think anyone should read anything into that," Ms Clinton added.
She stressed too that "I'm going to be speaking with Sergei Lavrov. He is travelling in Australia."
The United Nations has been working to pressure Mr Assad to stop his violent crackdowns on Syrian protesters that according to human rights groups have so far resulted to the deaths of more than 5000 people, most of them civilians.
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