Jun 18, 2013
By Jane Brown
Prime Minister Stephen Harper chatted briefly with U.S. President Barack Obama today on the closing day of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland. The encounter was a quick one, just over 10 minutes, after all of the G8 leaders posed for a group photo. The Harper-Obama private discussion was a walk and talk with indications the two discussed the ongoing warin Syria.
Reports in the British press say at last night’s dinner, the other G8 leaders pressured Russian President Vladimir Putin to agree to a joint statement condemning Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime for attacking rebels with chemical weapons.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told U-S President Barack Obama that their individual positions on Syria do not coincide. But both leaders have agreed on the need to push for negotiations in Syria’s two-year-old civil war. Obama concedes that they have a “different perspective on Syria but we have a shared interest in reducing the violence and securing chemical weapons.”
While Putin has called for negotiated peace talks, he has not called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power, and remains one of Assad’s strongest political and military allies. Prime Minister Harper says Canada will stick with humanitarian support only.