WASHINGTON, April 29 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday discussed the protracted conflict in Syria and agreed to have a summit in Russia in September.
In a phone conversation, the two leaders discussed the situation in Syria, where the conflict has entered its third year and killed more than 70,000 people, the White House said in a statement.
Obama underscored his concern over Syria's chemical weapons, as the United States joined Britain, France and Israel last week to allege that such weapons have been used in internal fightings in the Middle East country.
Washington is seeking more clear facts before taking further action, though Obama has called the use of or failure to secure such weapons by the Syrian government a "game changer" in his judgment about the Syrian conflict.
The two presidents agreed to "stay in close consultation" and instructed their foreign ministers to continue discussions on Syria, according to the White House.
They also said that they looked forward to meeting in person in June when leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations meet in Northern Ireland and again in September for a bilateral summit in Russia.
Obama reiterated his appreciation for the close cooperation the United States has received from Russia following the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, when two suspects of Chechen origin detonated two home-made bombs near the finish line of the race, killing three people and injuring about 200 others.
"The two leaders discussed cooperation on counterterrorism and security issues going forward, including with respect to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi," a Black Sea resort in Russia, the White House noted.
It added that Obama also conveyed his condolences over the tragic mental hospital fire outside of Moscow that killed dozens last week.
TEHRAN, April 29 (Xinhua) -- Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, expressed Monday his country's opposition to the creation of a buffer zone in Syria.
Amir-Abdollahian said that creating a buffer zone in Syria will further complicate the situation in the country, semi-official Mehr news agency reported. Full story
PARIS, April 29 (Xinhua) -- France is still "uncertain" about the Syrian government's probable use of chemical weapons in the country's violent civil war and was seeking more proofs, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday.
"We have no certainty that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons. There are clues that were given by the English, as the Americans. We are just checking that," the minister told the local broadcaster Europe 1. Full story