Britain, Russia agree need for transitional Syrian government

SOCHI, Russia Fri May 10, 2013 5:07pm BST

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russia and Britain agreed on Friday to work towards a transitional government in Syria, despite acknowledging differences in their approach to the Middle Eastern country's civil war.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi that they had agreed "that as permanent members of the U.N. we must help drive this process".

He said international efforts envisaged "not just bringing the regime and opposition together at one negotiating table, but Britain, Russia, America and other countries helping shape a transitional government that all Syrians can trust to protect them."

Russia has been under pressure to cooperate more with Western powers at the United Nations Security Council on ending the bloodshed.

Moscow has supported President Bashar al-Assad's government and supplied it with weapons, but agreed with the United States this week to help bring the warring sides together for an international conference on ending the bloodshed.

"We have a common interest in the quickest end to the violence and the initiation of a peace process, and the preservation of Syria as a territorially whole sovereign state," Putin said after the talks.

"On the initiative of the British prime minister, we discussed possible options for positive developments of this process and about a number of possible joint steps," Putin added, He gave no details the proposed steps.

(Writing by Jason Bush, editing by Timothy Heritage)

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