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DUBLIN (AP) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is warning about new attempts by oppressive governments to "re-Sovietize" much of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

At an international human rights conference in Dublin, Clinton met with a group of human rights advocates from Russia and neighboring countries and promised them the U.S. would look for new ways to address increased repression.

She says U.S. assistance for human rights and democracy in the region is increasingly being criminalized. She criticized Moscow, in particular, just hours ahead of a surprise meeting on Syria with Russia's foreign minister.

Clinton says the U.S. is "looking for ways to change the direction before it is too late." She lamented a broader move by Russia and neighboring governments to work against human rights and democratic advancement.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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