UPDATE 7-Putin, Obama disagree over Syria at tense G8 summit meeting

Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:29pm EDT
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* Obama, Putin square off over Syria

* Agree bloodshed must end, talks should begin

* EU-US to start formal talks on free trade deal (Adds Putin, Obama quotes, colour)

By Roberta Rampton and Alexei Anishchuk

ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland, June 17 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama sparred with Russia's Vladimir Putin over how to end the war in Syria on Monday during an icy encounter at a G8 summit where divisions over the conflict eclipsed the rest of the agenda.

Speaking after talks with Obama, Putin said Moscow and Washington had differing views over Syria but agreed the bloodshed must stop and that the warring parties should be brought to the negotiating table.

Both leaders looked tense and uncomfortable as they addressed reporters after about two hours of talks, with Putin staring mostly at the floor as he spoke about Syria and Obama only glancing occasionally at the Russian leader.

"Our positions do not fully coincide, but we are united by the common intention to end the violence, to stop the number of victims increasing in Syria, to resolve the problems by peaceful means, including the Geneva talks," Putin said.

"We agreed to push the process of peace talks and encourage the parties to sit down at the negotiation table, organise the talks in Geneva."   Continued...