THE WHITE HOUSE — 12.5.2013 – The situation in Syria and efforts to halt bloodshed there will be a major topic on the agenda of talks Monday between President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Monday’s meeting will cover the range of global issues, including the agenda for next month’s G8 Summit, as well as issues such as Iran and Middle East peace efforts. But the flurry of diplomatic activity on Syria means that issue is likely to dominate the Oval Office talks. The United States and Russia want to organize an international conference in Geneva to press President Bashar al-Assad and rebels fighting to oust him to engage in peace talks. Obama has made clear that Assad must “exit the stage” as he recently put it. The U.S., Britain and other partners also continue to gather evidence about possible chemical weapons use in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a Google-sponsored event on Friday that a path forward in Syria depends on political willpower and compromise.
“We all owe the world the best effort possible to try to get there and to explore in good faith whether or not we can end the violence, end the bloodshed, avoid a complete disintegration. And my judgment is that if we get to this meeting in Geneva, the arguments will be very clear to everybody as to who is prepared to be reasonable and who is not prepared to be reasonable.”