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Putin, Obama agree to keep pushing Syrians to negotiate

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Differing perspectivesWhile Russia has firmly rejected the idea of imposing a no-fly zone over Syria, it has agreed with the U.S. to bring the disagreeing parties in Syria to the negotiating table.PHOTO: AFP
Differing perspectivesWhile Russia has firmly rejected the idea of imposing a no-fly zone over Syria, it has agreed with the U.S. to bring the disagreeing parties in Syria to the negotiating table.PHOTO: AFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama made little headway on Monday in solving their differences over the conflict in Syria.

After a meeting on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Enniskillen, Obama said Washington and Moscow have “differing perspectives on the problem.”

Obama said he and Putin share an interest in reducing violence, securing chemical weapons and resolving the conflict through political means. Both agreed that bringing the Syrian regime and rebels to the negotiating table remained the goal.

“Our opinions do not coincide, but all of us have the intention to stop the violence in Syria, to stop the growth of victims and to solve the situation peacefully, including by bringing the parties to the negotiations table in Geneva,” Putin said. Obama later announced that the U.S. would send 300 million dollars in additional humanitarian assistance for the Syrian people including food, medical equipment, water and shelter. Cameron, the host, attempted to find common ground on Syria during a meeting with Vladimir Putin in London on Sunday. But Russia’s rejection on Monday of a no-fly zone to protect opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad showed it was in no mood for compromise.

On economic issues

Other talks on the agenda of the summit, due to end on Tuesday afternoon, include the economic issues that have worried leaders since the financial crisis of 2007- 08.

Among them are British Prime Minister David Cameron’s “three Ts” — updating international tax rules, greater financial transparency and opening up trade.DPA


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