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U.S. Secretary Of State Clinton Visits Latvia


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (file photo)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has arrived for a visit to the Baltic state of Latvia, a European Union member and U.S. ally in NATO.

Clinton was expected to hold talks with President Andris Berzins, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, and other officials.

Latvia marks the 100th country Clinton has visited since she became the top U.S. diplomat at the start of President Barack Obama's term in January 2009.

She is believed to have visited more countries than any other U.S. secretary of state, edging out Madeleine Albright -- who served under president Bill Clinton -- by four countries.

Clinton arrived in Latvia from Finland.

On June 27, she is expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.

Clinton is expected to discuss the continuing violence in Syria and possible international responses with Lavrov.

More than 10,000 people are estimated to have died in Syria since Arab Spring-style unrest broke out there in March 2011.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told a newly appointed cabinet in a televised speech on June 26 that the country was in "a state of real war from all angles," adding, "When we live in such a situation, all policies and all sides and all sectors need to be directed at winning this war."

United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan last week urged the international community to increase pressure on both sides -- the government and rebels -- to end the violence.