Cameron Says Putin Ready to Ditch Assad, But...

...Russians say PM's remarks 'don't correspond to reality'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2012 3:37 AM CDT
Updated Jun 20, 2012 4:40 AM CDT
British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, holds a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Los Cabos, Mexico.   (AP Photo /RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky)

(Newser) – After a G20 meeting with Vladimir Putin, Brit Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters that the Russian leader had made it "explicit" that he's ready for Bashar al-Assad to go. There are "differences over how the transition should take place," but "it is welcome that President Putin has been explicit that he is not opting for Assad to remain in charge in Syria," Cameron said. But he was soon contradicted by the Russians, BusinessWeek reports. Cameron's remarks "don’t correspond to reality," said Russia's foreign minister.

Putin himself told reporters that only some Syrians "who are represented by the armed position" want Assad to step down, and stressed that any change in leadership should be constitutional. President Obama says he has told Russian and Chinese leaders that he can't see a scenario in which Assad stays and violence is reduced. "I don’t think it would be fair to say that the Russians and the Chinese are signed on at this point,” Obama said. "I think what is fair to say is that they recognize that the current situation is grave. It does not serve their interests." Obama and Putin agreed to work toward ending the conflict after meeting on Monday. (Read more Vladimir Putin stories.)

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