June 18 - U.S. President Barack Obama says he, and Russian President Vladamir Putin agree on the need to end violence in Syria. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on Monday on the need to end violence in Syria, but showed no concrete signs of narrowing their differences on tougher sanctions against Damascus. (SOUNDBITE (Russian interspersed with English translation) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADAMIR PUTIN SAYING: "We also discussed international affairs including the Syrian affair. From my point of view, we have found many common points on this issue." With Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continuing his bloody, 15-month crackdown on the opposition, Obama and Western allies want veto-wielding Moscow to stop shielding Assad from further UN Security Council sanctions aimed at forcing him from power. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "We discussed Syria, where we 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 deaths that we've seen over the last several weeks; and we pledged to act with other international actors including the United Nations, Kofi Annan and all interested parties trying to find a resolution to this problem." Suspension of the UN monitoring mission in Syria over the weekend put added pressure on Obama and Putin, to act decisively to keep the conflict from spiraling into civil war. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters