News / Middle East

    Obama, Putin Agree to Disagree on Syria

    U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013.
    U.S. President Barack Obama (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013.
    Kent Klein
    U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin disagree on how they want the bloodshed in Syria to be resolved, but both say they want it resolved through negotiations.  The two leaders met Monday on the sidelines of the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland.

    After their two-hour meeting, Presidents Obama and Putin emphasized that their fundamental positions on Syria have not changed.  Mr. Putin continues to support the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, citing stability concerns, while Mr. Obama insists that no political settlement can include President Assad.

    But the U.S. and Russian leaders said proposed talks in Geneva are necessary for a resolution.  Mr. Putin said "And, of course, our thinkings do not coincide, but all of us have the intention to stop the violence in Syria, to stop the growth of victims, and to sow the situation peacefully, including by bringing the parties to the negotiation table in Geneva.  We agreed to push the parties to the negotiation table."

    Mr. Obama also acknowledged the differences with his Russian counterpart on Syria, but he said they agree on the need to defuse the situation.

    "We do have different perspectives on the problem, but we share an interest in reducing the violence, securing chemical weapons and ensuring that they are neither used nor are they subject to proliferation," he said.

    Russian officials are skeptical about what the United States says is evidence that the Assad government is using chemical weapons on its people.

    There were areas of agreement, however.  Mr. Putin said he and Mr. Obama are optimistic that a new president in Iran could lead to an easing of Tehran's conflict with other countries about its nuclear program.

    "I hope that after the elections in Iran there will be new opportunities to solve the Iranian nuclear problem," he said. "And we will be trying to do that bilaterally and in the international negotiations process."

    The two leaders pledged to work together to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.  Mr. Obama thanked Mr. Putin for Russia's cooperation in investigating April's bombing at the Boston Marathon, and he said the U.S. and Russia are poised to increase trade and investment.

    There was not much personal warmth in evidence between the two presidents.  Mr. Putin characterized their meeting as a "frank exchange of opinions," while Mr. Obama called it a "very useful conversation."

    Earlier in the day, the G8 leaders announced that the first round of talks toward a massive transatlantic trade deal between the U.S. and the EU will start next month in Washington.

    President Obama also invited Italy's new prime minister to visit Washington.

    The G8 leaders conclude their summit with several meetings on Wednesday, and Mr. Obama will meet with French President Francois Hollande before he flies to Berlin to visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    June 18, 2013 12:33 AM
    Putin doesn't have to worry, if he tried doing what Assad has done, we the west would likely intervene in Russia as well. You can't keep killing innocent civilians in every city and town all over Syria and think you can easily get away with it. Assad is a criminal for ruthlessly bombing civilian areas without any regard for human life.

    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    June 17, 2013 9:09 PM
    I wonder, how can democratically elected leaders of G7 countries tolerate and shake hands with self-elected man (G7+ one) who clings to power by virtue of rigged elections and basic human rights denied to people of Russia. Long overdue is the time to return to old format of G7 and the new format of G20. So Mr Putin will be diluted. Mr. Putin supports Assad because he views the bloodbath in Syria as a model to what he is morally ready to do with people of Russia once they will try to overthrow him.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    June 18, 2013 6:23 AM
    president Putin has the authority power to take key political decisions independently, while president Obama is influenced by various lobbies , left and right wings , influential individuals , secret figures of policy makers in US. You can not expect him more than that in person either !
    In Response

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    June 18, 2013 1:29 AM
    Yes, I agree with you that Russia should not be included in advanced or industriarised countries as long as it is dominated by Putin. It should be remained at best as a member of main countries administarting anti-humanitarian policies.

    by: danR from: Canada
    June 17, 2013 7:18 PM
    Putin's not convincing the people who *count* with this cannibalism thing. He should stick with the premise for arming the Syrian mob: the sarin claim.

    It's just press-release disinformation rubbish, same as the Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld thing. If he sticks with that it will force the other G7 and also the media to put up or shut up. I have yet to see a single page of <i>documentation</i>. Just claims of documentation. This is no different from Bush's WMD days, and he should say so.

    by: Anonymous
    June 17, 2013 5:27 PM
    The west has wanted to intervene for some time now, because the ex dictator Assad has been using terrorist tactics to try and make the Syrian people buckle. Assad has killed somewhere between 50,000 to 90,000 innocent civilians and that number is likely low. Putin on the other hand whines at the fact one Syrian Rebel ate the heart of a human, whom likely was a psycho / mentally ill... But Assad is sane, and premeditated the murder of these people by allowing the air force, and army to bombard civilian areas all over Syria, not only killing thousands of innocent unarmed civilians but also destroying the cities, towns, and villages as well. Millions of Syrians lost everything they own (including relatives) because of Bashar Al Assads bombardments. Most of which were done so by using Russian weaponry. 90% of Syrians killed by Assad have been killed with Russian weaponry. How can Putin cry about 1 mentally ill Rebel verses a man who has killed tens and tens of thousands of innocent people? Anyone who backs Assad is just as much of a terrorist as Assad. It is no difference than a person defending a mass murderer. If it wasn't for Putin there would be tens of thousands of less dead Syrians. He has provided Assads weaponry and denounced his removal from power shielding Assad from being held accountable long ago. It seems to me that Putin is an accomplice, he is protecting someone guilty of war crimes. For this reason alone, all the more reason for the west to intervene and show once again that human rights abuses this day and age WILL NOT be tolerated. If Putin keeps making stupid statements and making dumb decisions the people of Russia will soon stand up to him and have him removed from power. Any Russians I know, do not like Putin whatsoever.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    June 18, 2013 7:47 AM
    Look Man ! you are absolutely wrong with your opinion ! I f you go to Russians and ask for their view points about Putin you will understand that absolute majority of Russian people like him ! however make sure that I am not defending his policy in Syria ! The failure is with the Westerners + Saudies + Qataries ....

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora