World powers failed to bridge deep divisions on Syria at a G20 summit dinner in Russia as they squared off over the US push for military strikes against Syria.
As tensions over the Syrian crisis threatened to torpedo the working schedule of the G20 summit outside Saint Petersburg, host Vladimir Putin invited participants to air their views over dinner.
The leaders took turns over three hours to reiterate their positions on the issue in 10-minute speeches, a diplomatic source close to the talks said.
“The G20 has just now finished the dinner session at which the divisions about Syria were confirmed”, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who attended the dinner, said on his official Twitter feed.
Russia has led opposition to any US-led military action against Syria over an August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus, which Washington alleges was perpetrated by Damascus.
“Let us remember: every day that we lose is a day when scores of innocent civilians die”, the UN quoted Ban as telling the G20 leaders at the dinner.
“Providing more arms to either side is not the answer. There is no military solution”.
A French diplomatic source said the closed-door dinner, hosted by Putin at the luxurious imperial palace of Peterhof outside Saint Petersburg, was not meant to secure a deal.
“The objective was an exchange between the top world leaders and not to come to an agreement” on the crisis, said the source.
Putin and US President Barack Obama put on a show of smiles for the cameras as they shook hands just before the summit got under way on the shores of the Gulf of Finland.
Source: Al Manar