News / Middle East

Obama Presses Syria Strike at G20 Summit

President Barack Obama listens as Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the start of the G-20 Working Session at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 5, 2013.
President Barack Obama listens as Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the start of the G-20 Working Session at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 5, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama is pressing world leaders at the Group of 20 summit in Russia for backing of a possible U.S. strike on Syria.
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to add Syria to the agenda shortly after summit participants arrived Thursday in St. Petersburg.
 
In an opening session, Putin said some leaders had asked him to set aside time to discuss "very acute topics of international politics," in particular Syria. He said talks could take place during Thursday's working dinner (approximately 16:00 UTC).
               
The Syrian crisis is not on the official agenda for the two-day global economic summit, but Obama and other leaders have been discussing the issue on the sidelines.
 
The president is seeking broader support, both at home and abroad, for military strikes against Syria's government for allegedly using chemical weapons on its civilians.
 
Obama commented on Syria as he headed into a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
 
"I also look forward to having an extensive conversation about the situation in Syria and I think our joint recognition that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is not only a tragedy but a violation of international law that must be addressed," he said.
 
After the session, White House advisor Ben Rhodes said the two leaders were in agreement that the Syrian crisis demanded a strong international response.
 
On Wednesday, Putin warned Western strikes without U.N. Security Council approval would be an unacceptable "aggression." But he said he would support a strike if there were "convincing" proof that Damascus used chemical weapons.
 
White House adviser Ben Rhodes says there are currently no plans for a bilateral meeting between Obama and Putin, but there will be opportunities for "interactions" between the two leaders on the sidelines of the summit.
 
Rhodes told reporters on Air Force One en route to the summit the United States will continue to present evidence to Russia that the Syrian regime was behind the attack, but will not "entertain implausible theories."
 
Russia has been a key ally to Syria. Russia says Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem is traveling to Moscow for talks on Monday about the crisis.
 
Russia and China have already vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions that would have punished President Assad's government.
 
The U.S. hosted a series of briefings at the U.N. Thursday. Afterwards, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said Russia continues to hold the Security Council hostage on Syria, and shirk [avoid] its international responsibility.
 
"There is nothing in the pattern of our interactions with our colleagues in the Security Council, our Russian colleagues, that would give us any reason to be optimistic," she said. "And, indeed, we have seen nothing in President Putin’s comments that suggests there is an available path forward at the Security Council."
 
Speaking before the summit, Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said Thursday any military action against Syria would cause a hike in oil prices and have a "negative impact" on the global economy.
 
Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate could begin debate next week on a measure calling for limited military strikes on Syria. On Wednesday, a key Senate panel approved the plan, which also rules out deploying U.S. ground troops to the country.
 
U.N. officials continue to look for a political settlement to the conflict.
 
Officials say U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is headed to St. Petersburg to help U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon organize a Syrian peace conference.
 
Also, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will discuss Syria's crisis with European Union and Arab League representatives during a visit to Europe next week.

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center foreground, gestures as he walks by U.S. President Barack Obama, front row second right, as he takes his place at a group photo outside of the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama, right, walks with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to a group photo of G-20 leaders outside of the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013. 
  • An image of U.S. President Barack Obama drinking out of a paper cup is shown on a large screen in the media center of a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013. 
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a media conference after a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) arrives for the family picture event during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Sept. 6, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama walks away after shaking hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during arrivals for the G20 Summit at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Sept. 5, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Sept. 5, 2013.
  • A man protests possible military action in Syria as the first day of the G20 Summit gets underway in St. Petersburg, Sept. 5, 2013.
  • BRICS leaders' at the G20 Summit in Strelna near St. Petersburg, Sept. 5, 2013.
  • Participants sit at a table during a BRICS leaders' meeting at the G20 Summit in Strelna near St. Petersburg, Sept. 5, 2013.
  • Apples are seen on the ground next to statues across the street from the Constantine Palace, the venue for a G20 meeting in St. Petersburg, Sept. 4, 2013.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions More

Nigerians Await New President With High Hopes

When pomp and circumstance of inauguration end in Abuja, Buhari will sit down to the hard task of governing Nigeria More

India's Restrictions on Several NGOs Raise Concerns

Political analysts link recent clampdown on advocacy groups to report last year that said foreign-funded NGO’s negatively impact economic development More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: The area from: Phnom Penh
September 05, 2013 6:27 PM
I trusted the report from the UN, i support american presidnet but why don't you use seal to catch Assad like you did on bin la den? Air strikes or launch missiles will cos a lots of damages and kill.

by: Babeouf from: Ireland
September 05, 2013 10:03 AM
Today or yesterday the Russian's revealed a report actually claiming to contain evidence that the rebels in Syria used Sarin gas in their attacks. As you will soon see the US population is opposed to the war in Syria that Obama has planed. He does not appeal to them at all. Rather he appeals to their Congressional representative to ignore their electorates and follow his path to destruction. I doubt such a plan will cement democracy in place in the USA.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 05, 2013 4:20 PM
You couldn't be more wrong. Besides assad crossed a red line longggg ago with the use of conventional weapons anyways. He bombed civilian areas for 2.5 yrs and murdered nearly 100,000 civilians. Long before chemical weapons came in to play assad was implementing crimes against the people of Syria. Many of the Syrian Army are defecting to the FSA to protect their own families, homes, and nation. They refuse to take orders from top dog assad who wishes for them to kill their own people and destroy their nation.

Majority of North Americans are disgusted in what is going on in Syria. All because assad has not gone and stays to continue murdering the innocent.

Praise to the Syrian people and the FREE SYRIAN ARMY.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs