President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron voiced hope that Russia will eventually step up pressure on the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad as Obama and Cameron met at the White House today a month ahead of the G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland.
“As a leader on the world stage, Russia has an interest, as well as an obligation, to try to resolve this issue in a way that can lead to the kind of outcome that we’d all like to see over the long term,” President Obama said.
While the U.S. and U.K. have called for Assad to step down, Russia has supported the Syrian regime politically and has sent weapons to the country, as well. Cameron said that while Russia’s position on Syria differs from that of the United Kingdom, Russia does agree that stability and democracy must be achieved in Syria.
“Syria’s history is being written in the blood of her people, and it is happening on our watch,” Cameron said. “The world urgently needs to come together to bring the killing to an end. None of us have any interest in seeing more lives lost, in seeing chemical weapons used or extremist violence spreading even further.”
“Together,” President Obama said, “we’re going to continue our efforts to increase pressure on the Assad regime, to provide humanitarian aid to the long-suffering Syrian people, to strengthen the moderate opposition, and to prepare for a democratic Syria without Bashar Assad.”
Cameron’s visit to the United States is the first since President Obama was re-elected.
During Cameron’s trip to the United States last April, the two leaders attended a March Madness basketball game as the president introduced the British prime minister to one of his favorite sports, and the British prime minister said he’s eager to learn more about another American pastime – baseball.
“There was a lot of attention about how I took David to March Madness,” Obama said. “We went to Ohio. And a year later, we have to confess that David still does not understand basketball. I still do not understand cricket.”
“Thank you for the remarks about the cricket and the basketball. I haven’t made much progress,” Cameron said. “I made a bit of progress on baseball; I actually read a book about it this year, so maybe next time we’ll get to work on that one.”