Standing firm…on nothing. “Obama rejects G20 pressure to abandon Syria air strike plan,” by Matt Spetalnick and Alexei Anishchuk for Reuters, September 6:
(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama resisted pressure on Friday to abandon plans for air strikes against Syria and enlisted the support of 10 fellow leaders for a “strong” response to a chemical weapons attack.
Obama refused to blink after Russian President Vladimir Putin led a campaign to talk him out of military intervention at a two-day summit of the Group of Twenty developed and developing economies in St. Petersburg.
He persuaded nine other G20 nations plus Spain to join the United States in signing a statement calling for a strong international response, although it fell short of supporting military strikes, underscoring the deep disagreements that dominated the summit.
A senior U.S. official said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the only European leader at the summit who did not sign the statement, held off because she wanted to let the European Union have a chance to weigh in first.
Leaders of the G20, which accounts for 90 percent of the world economy and two-thirds of its population, put aside their differences to unite behind a call for growth and jobs and agreed the global economy was on the mend but not out of crisis.
But there was no joint statement on Syria, despite a 20-minute one-on-one talk between Obama and Putin on the sidelines of the summit on Friday, following a tense group discussion on the civil war over dinner late on Thursday.
“We hear one another, and understand the arguments but we don’t agree. I don’t agree with his arguments, he doesn’t agree with mine,” Putin told a closing news conference dominated by questions about Syria….