Obama to press Putin on Syria at G20 amid skepticism


Matt Spetalnick and Gleb Bryanski
Reuters
June 18, 2012

President Barack Obama will press Vladimir Putin over Russia’s role in the Syrian crisis when they meet on Monday but appears to have little chance of persuading him to budge on Moscow’s resistance to tougher U.N. action against Damascus.

After a week of Cold War-style recriminations between U.S. and Russian diplomats, the talks at a Group of 20 summit in Mexico will test whether the two leaders can forge a working relationship and find common ground on Syria and other festering disputes.

Suspension of the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria over the weekend has put added pressure on Obama and Putin, meeting for the first time since the Russian president’s re-election, to act decisively to keep the conflict from spiraling into civil war.

But with relations frayed and expectations low on both sides for progress on breaking the deadlock, the stage is set for an uncomfortable meeting in the Pacific resort of Los Cabos.

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