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UK, Russia seek end to Syria violence
May 10, 2013, 2:46 pm


During the meeting in Sochi the sides agreed to set up a special group to work on energy projects [AP]

UK prime minister David Cameron has held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis was the key focus of the meet.

Even though the two sides have deep political divergence on the Syrian issue, President Putin and Mr Cameron looked to seek practical steps towards conflict settlement.

“On the prime minister’s initiative we have discussed the possible options of positive development of the situation and further steps in this sphere,” Putin said.

“We have a mutual interest in the soonest stop to violence and the start of the peace process, in the establishment of Syria as a sovereign, integral state,” Putin added.

Ahead of the meeting, the British prime minister said there was no evidence that Syrian opposition has used chemical weapons.

“Our assessment is that chemical weapons use in Syria is very likely to have been initiated by the regime. We have no evidence to date of opposition use,” Mr Cameron said.

London has been urging the EU to ease the ban on weapons supplies to Syria.

The UK has sent a draft proposal to EU diplomats suggesting lifting the embargo on sending weapons to Syrian rebels.

During the discussion in Sochi, the sides have also discussed a range of other issues, including bilateral cooperation.

The sides have agreed to set up a special group to work on energy projects.

“Energy is one of the most promising spheres of cooperation, and we have agreed to form a special group that will deal with the promising projects,” Putin said at the press conference after the talks.

Mr Cameron arrived in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Friday for talks with Putin.

Putin offered the UK prime minister a tour of the Sochi Olympic venues, recalling how Cameron accompanied him to a judo match in London.

“If there is time, I would like to show you how we are preparing for the 2014 Olympic Games,” Putin said at the start of his meeting with Cameron.

Cameron’s trip to Russia is part of the prime minister’s round of one-on-one talks with G8 leaders.

After Sochi, Cameron will travel to Washington to meet US President Barack Obama.

Earlier this week the US secretary of state John Kerry had visited Moscow and the two sides vowed to facilitate a possible solution to the Syrian crisis, bringing the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition to the negotiations table.

Daria Chernyshova

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