Obama, Putin call for end to Syrian violence
By GEOFF HOLTZMAN and JUSTIN DUCKHAM
Talk Radio News Service
President Obama and his Russian counterpart met Monday for nearly two hours to discuss a wide range of issues, from trade relations, to missile proliferation, to the crisis in Syria that could soon morph into an outright civil war.
Following the meeting at the G20 in Mexico, the two leaders addressed the media.
Regarding Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke first, said “from my perspective we’ve been able to find many commonalities pertaining to all of those issues.”
“We agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war,” Obama added.
According to readouts of the remarks, however, neither president addressed the issue of Russia sending aid to Syria, despite the more than 10,000 people who have died there as a result of a bloody crackdown waged by government-backed forces against opposition groups.
The U.S. would like to get a consensus backing at the United Nations to ratchet up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al Assad, as would opposition and rebel groups that wish to see Assad ousted from power. But Moscow has been reluctant to come to terms with the U.S. and its Euro allies on just how far to go to spark regime change in Damascus.
Just last week, Putin chafed at U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s accusation that Russia was supplying Assad with attack helicopters. The newly elected Russian leader, who also served as president from 2000-to-2008, accused the U.S. of aiding Middle eastern governments that are themselves dealing with calls for political transition.
In a joint statement released by the White House shortly after the meeting ended, Obama and Putin called “for an immediate cessation of all violence and express full support for the efforts of UN/League of Arab States Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan, including moving forward on political transition to a democratic, pluralistic political system that would be implemented by the Syrians themselves in the framework of Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity.”
“We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future,” the two leaders added.
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