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Leaders say violence in Syria must end

中国日报网 2012-06-20 11:06



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US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday called for the immediate cessation of all violence in Syria and voiced their full support for the UN peace plan on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Meanwhile, China urged all parties in Syria to meet their commitments to cease the violence, ensure the safety of the UN observer mission and fully implement the six-point plan sponsored by Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria.

With the bloodshed in Syria getting worse, the talks at the G20 summit tested whether Obama and Putin could forge a working relationship.

It was their first meeting since Putin's return to the presidency last month, and the two leaders sought to paper over disputes on arming Damascus and the prospects for further UN action.

"We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future," the leaders said.

Putin told reporters that he and Obama had found many common points on the 15-month-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Obama said he and Putin agreed on the need for a "political process" to halt the conflict and had pledged to work with Kofi Annan.

But there was little sign they had agreed on concrete means to end the conflict.

The US, Britain and France are working on a new UN Council resolution to threaten sanctions against Assad.

The talks came as Syrian security forces pounded opposition areas across the country. Intense artillery fire was reported in Douma, a town 15 kilometers outside the Syrian capital that for weeks has been under the partial control of rebels who have joined the revolt against Assad.

As journalists entered the cramped hotel ballroom, the two leaders were leaning toward each other in discussion, neither smiling. Obama initiated a handshake for the cameras while both he and Putin remained seated.

Obama sometimes gestured toward Putin as he spoke but Putin sat more stiffly through the joint appearance. At the end of their statements, as reporters were being ushered out, both sat glumly watching but made no move to re-engage with each other.

The hardened tone appears to mark the endpoint of Obama's "reset" of ties with Russia, which he pursued with Putin's predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev, with whom Obama shared a strong rapport.

Obama and Putin discussed Syria longer than any other topic - at least a third of their meeting- according to US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul.

Aides said Obama and Putin found some common ground.

The suspension of the UN monitoring mission in Syria over the weekend put added pressure on Obama and Putin to act decisively to keep the conflict from spiraling into civil war.

The rift between the two sides intensified last week when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia of supplying Assad with attack helicopters.


1. How long has the uprising in Syria lasted?

2. Which countries are working on a new UN Council resolution to threaten sanctions against Assad?

3. Why did the rift between the US and Russia intensify last week?


1. 15 months.

2. The US, Britain and France.

3. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Russia of supplying Assad with attack helicopters.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Leaders say violence in Syria must end

About the broadcaster:

Leaders say violence in Syria must end

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.



















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