Clinton To Attend Emergency Syria Meeting Amid Fresh Killing

A day after a State Department official told reporters Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would only attend an international meeting on Syria if participants agreed to a political transition in that country, the agency said she will participate.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pictured on June 22

A day after a State Department official told reporters Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would only attend an international meeting on Syria if participants agreed to a political transition in that country, the agency said she will participate.

The emergency meeting set for Saturday in Geneva, Switzerland, was called by Kofi Annan, who is gathering world diplomats to come up with a plan to end the violence in Syria that has left thousands dead.

Clinton agreed to the meeting after speaking with Annan, a joint special envoy appointed by the United Nations and the Arab League, who has "been working with key member states on a political transition plan," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters Wednesday.

"The Secretary spoke to him yesterday and told him that we like and accept his transition plan, and we think it can form the good basis not only for a meeting -- the kind of meeting that he's been looking for to show international unity -- but also to help the Syrian people move forward," Nuland said.

The meeting will bring together top diplomats of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- and Turkey. Envoys from the United Nations, European Union, and Arab League also were invited.

The meeting of the group, dubbed The Action Group for Syria, comes at a critical time for the country, which has been mired in an uprising since March 2011 that has pitted President Bashar al-Assad's forces against rebels calling for his ouster.

A peace plan hammered out by Annan fell apart this month after both sides -- the Syrian government and the rebels -- accused the other of failing to abide by the terms to end the killing.

At least 30 people were killed Thursday in several provinces, according to the Local Coordination Committees for Syria, an opposition group that counts casualties and records instances of violence. Of those slain, 10 people died in Deir Ezzor and eight in the Damascus suburbs.

CNN can not independently confirm the reports of casualties or violence because access by international journalists to Syria has been severely restricted.

It's unclear whether Annan can get a unanimous consensus on the proposal.

Nuland declined to speak to any negotiations or discussions between Annan and Russian leaders, saying only that Clinton would attend the Geneva meeting.

"But our litmus test for whether we thought this meeting should go forward, as we've been saying for many days now, was that we expected we could make concrete progress," Nuland said.

"We've been working with Kofi Annan, who's been working with all the member-states. Based on our consultations, we have hopes for a successful meeting."

The meeting of the diplomats will come one day after Clinton meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in St. Petersburg.

Russia has opposed the idea that other countries dictate a political transition, insisting it is a decision for the Syrians themselves.

Russia and China, permanent members of the Security Council, have major trade deals with Syria. Both countries vetoed a U.N. resolution calling for an end to the violence and a transition of power.

While in St. Petersburg this week, Clinton also plans to discuss Russian arms sales to al-Assad's regime, the State Department official told reporters this week.

A shipment of refurbished Russian helicopters headed for Syria had to turn around and return to Russia after its British insurance company dropped coverage on the ship carrying helicopters.