LOUGH ERNE, June 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia and the United States will bear primary responsibility for developing a peace plan for Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday at a press conference following a summit of the Group of Eight major industrial nations in Northern Ireland.
“Our fellow members [of the G-8] agreed that it will be the foreign minister of the RF [Russian Federation] and the secretary of state of the USA who will take on the main role and the main burden of responsibility for preparing the principles of resolving this crisis,” Putin said.
In their final communique, the leaders of the G-8 countries reiterated a commitment to achieving "a political solution to the crisis based on a vision for a united, inclusive and democratic Syria" and endorsed a decision to hold a second Geneva conference on Syria "as soon as possible." The plan for the conference issued nearly a year ago called for "agreement on a transitional governing body with full executive powers, formed by mutual consent," according to the communique.
Syria has been a bone of contention between Russia – an important ally of Damascus – and other G-8 members, with positions differing on the fate of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the credibility of reports of chemical weapons use and the prospects for arming either side in the conflict, which has claimed over 90,000 lives according to the latest UN estimates.