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Obama, Putin meet on sidelines of G20 to discuss Syria

After meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Obama said that they agreed a "political process" was needed to prevent civil war in Syria.

Obama putin syria g20 meeting june 18 2012Enlarge
US President Barack Obama (R) listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin after their bilateral meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico on June 18, 2012 on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Obama and President Vladimir Putin met Monday, for the first time since the Russian leader's return to the presidency, for talks overshadowed by a row over Syria. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama said on Monday that both he and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for a political process to prevent a civil war in Syria, according to the Associated Press.

Meeting for the first time since Putin's return to the presidency, the leaders sought to find common ground on the issue of how to handle the spiraling conflict in Syria.

Obama said that they "agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war and the kind of horrific events that we've seen over the last several weeks, and we pledged to work with other international actors, including the United Nations, Kofi Annan, and all interested parties in trying to find a resolution to this problem," reported the AP.

Putin, seated next to Obama, said, "From my point of view we have found many common points on this issue," according to Reuters.

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The meeting took place in Los Cabos, on the sidelines of the G20 summit, where developed and developing nations will meet, said Agence France Presse.

Both the US and Russia have been at odds since Putin returned to the presidency and they have differed on their approaches to handling the turmoil in Syria, with Moscow blocking efforts to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power.

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The joint statement, which was released after their meeting, did not mention Assad by name. It said, "We are united in the belief that the Syrian people should have the opportunity to independently and democratically choose their own future," according to the AP.

United Nations monitors have withdrawn from Syria due to rising violence, putting more pressure on Obama and Putin to find a solution, said Reuters.

Many suggested that the tone of rhetoric between Putin and Obama's administrations marked the end of Obama's efforts to "reset" ties with Moscow, according to Reuters.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120618/obama-putin-meet-sidelines-g20-discuss-syria