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RF, US presidents did not discuss Assad future

July 19, 2012, 13:24 UTC+3

They reached a better understanding of each other’s positions on the situation in Syria, but disagreements remain

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MOSCOW, July 19 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian and US Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, after a telephone conversation on Wednesday reached a “better understanding of each other’s positions (on the situation in Syria), but disagreements remain concerning practical ways of the Syrian problem settlement,” Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told journalists.

“Our principled stand was expressed (in a telephone conversation), however, we failed to persuade (Obama), but the understanding of the complexity of the situation in Syria and the general assessment of what is happening there and that all this needs a constructive solution - it was a common assessment,” said Ushakov. “And as for ways of attaining the settlement – the known discrepancies aroused here,” he added.

Ushakov specified that Obama called Putin and the conversation lasted for 50 minutes. Everything was “about the aggravation of the situation (in Syria), which is close to a civil war and terror,” said Ushakov. “From our side we reaffirmed our position - we condemn all acts of terrorism, no matter who commits them, and we hope that the United States will agree with it,” Ushakov said.

The Russian leader’s aide admitted that during the conversation the person (of Assad) was mentioned, but “the emphasis was placed on the two draft resolutions (of the UN Security Council), which are on the table.”

The Kremlin official stressed that “Obama tried to present his arguments, and we - our own, which also suggested that it is necessary to exert pressure not only on the Syrian authorities, but also on the opposition forces.”

According to him, Putin and Obama during a telephone conversation on Wednesday did not discuss where Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad could move. “They did not discuss where and how (Assad could move),” Ushakov told reporters.

He added that this issue was also not touched upon during Putin’s talks on Wednesday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

Ushakov stated that the possible arrival of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Moscow is not considered. “I have not even heard about the possibility of his arrival,” Ushakov told journalists.

Putin and Obama also agreed to call each other more frequently on the Syrian and any other matter. “On this (Syria) and other issues they have agreed to call each other on the phone whenever is needed,” Ushakov indicated.

On Wednesday, a telephone conversation between the two countries’ leaders was held at the initiative of the US side, the RF head of state’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov reported on Wednesday evening.

According to him, Putin and Obama “comprehensively discussed the situation in Syria” in the context of the UN Security Council debate on the draft resolutions on Syria. “Both noted the situation was aggravating.”

“On the whole, the exchange of opinions showed convergence of the general assessment of the situation in Syria and the settlement’s ultimate goal,” Peskov said. “However, differences in the approaches concerning the practical ways to attain such settlement remain,” said the press secretary.

According to him, the Russian and US presidents agreed to be in close contact on the Syrian issue.

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