News Update :

Obama, Putin agree on ‘political process’ for Syria

Monday, June 25, 2012

* Moscow is suspicious that Washington is bent on Syria regime change

* Washington is concerned about Russian arms sales to Syria

MEXICO: Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin agreed Monday that Syrians deserve a “political process” to choose their future, but could not frame an immediate plan to end the bloodshed. As Syrian cities reverberated with shell fire, the US and Russian leaders held their first presidential-level talks, following a sharp public dispute about a US call for the ouster of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

“We call for an immediate cessation of all violence,” the leaders said in a joint statement issued after their meeting at Mexico's Los Cabos resort.

“We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future.” Obama aides hinted at some subtle movement, saying Russia accepted that a “political process” was needed to end ferocious violence against civilians with which Washington says Assad has forfeited his right to rule.

But they offered few specifics of what they termed “common ground”, and certainly no short-term plan to end the fighting emerged from a meeting which endorsed the approach of UN enovy Kofi Annan, author of a tattered peace plan.

Putin “demonstrated an openness and an interest in supporting a political process in the country,” US deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said.

“We're going to continue to work with the Russians at the international level to bring that about.”

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin and Obama spoke about the need to urgently bring the situation in Syria under control to prevent further deaths.

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