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China Daily Website

G8 members compare notes on Syria at summit

Updated: 2013-06-19 15:44
( Xinhua)

RUSSIA VS SEVEN?

G8 groups the United States, Russia, France, Japan, Britain, Italy, France and Germany. Before G8 announced its consensus, some Western leaders and media heavily campaigned and mounted pressure on Russia.

Before the summit at Louge Erne, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that G8 actually was a Seven Plus ONE group because Russia is a sole country that backs the Assad government, adding he did not expected that the summit could reach any consensus on the Syria issue.

Most British media predicted that the US and European countries will focus their attacks on Russia.

British newspaper The Times carried an article on its frontpage on Tuesday, entitled "Cameron leads West to ambush Putin on Syria", trying to "shame" Russia with Syria's lasting domestic conflict and press Russia to sign up to "a post-Assad Syria".

Last week, the White House said it had "strong evidence" that Assad's troops used Sarin poison gas against rebel forces, killing hundreds of people. It said that the US would provide direct military aid to the Syrian opposition for the first time.

However, the claim of Putin's "lonely dilemma" did not work. At the summit, countries like the US and Britain did not demonstrate the "strong position" that some people had expected.

Putin and US President Barack Obama discussed the issue of Syria at a Monday evening meeting and a working dinner later. They admitted they had big differences on Syria, but they agreed to push for a summit in Geneva, Switzerland.

"Our positions do not fully coincide, but we are united by the common intention to end the violence, to stop the number of victims increasing in Syria, to resolve the problems by peaceful means, including the Geneva talks," said Putin at a joint press conference with Obama.

"We agreed to push the process of peace talks and encourage the parties to sit down at the negotiation table, organize the talks in Geneva," he said.

The United States announced it would begin arming Syria's opposition forces because it has proof chemical weapons were used against the rebels. But Russia has dismissed the claims, saying they're based on flimsy evidence.

After the summit, Putin said that Russia was not "lonely" on the Syria issue, adding that many other G8 members also believed that the US lacked strong evidence that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons a