Obama, Putin Discuss Syria at G-20 Summit

By: From CNN, Posted by Ralph Hipp
By: From CNN, Posted by Ralph Hipp
President Obama and Russian President Putin meet at the G-20 Summit, with Obama saying they agreed on a need to end the violence in Syria and prevent civil war. Putin says he and Obama found many "commonalities."

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a document signing ceremony in Moscow, Nov. 6, 2007. (MIKHAIL METZEL/AFP/Getty Images

LOS CABOS, Mexico (CNN) -- President Barack Obama said Monday that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the conflict in Syria and "agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war."

In comments to reporters after almost two hours of talks, Obama said he and Putin had "candid, thoughtful and through conversation" about various issues including Syria and Iran.

On Syria, Obama said he and Putin "pledged to work with other international actors including the United Nations" and its special envoy, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution on Syria pushed by the United States and other allies, and Moscow is accused of providing military aid to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

The Obama administration says al-Assad's days are numbered and a transition should be worked out to allow the Syrian people to choose their leaders.

Putin said the two leaders were "able to find many commonalities pertaining to all of those issues," but provided no details.

The meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, was the first time Obama and Putin held face-to-face talks since Putin returned to the president's office earlier this year.

Speaking first, Putin thanked the United States for helping it join the World Trade Organization last December.

Obama later said he would work with Congress to strengthen Russia's trade status with the United States, adding that the two nations will disagree on some issues and must "find constructive ways to manage through any bilateral tensions."

Earlier Monday, veteran Sen. John McCain said the Obama administration "in its desperation" appeared to be placing its hopes for a resolution in Syria on persuading Russia to push al-Assad from power.

"Russia is unlikely to ever support a policy of regime change in Syria," said McCain, R-Arizona, in remarks at the American Enterprise Institute.

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