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Obama discusses Syria with senior Russian official


13:30, May 23, 2013

WASHINGTON, May 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday discussed with visiting Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev the need for a negotiated settlement of the protracted conflict in Syria.

Dropping by a White House meeting between Patrushev and Thomas Donilon, his national security advisor, Obama discussed the need for a negotiated political settlement in Syria as well as the importance of deepening counterterrorism cooperation between the United States and Russia, the National Security Council of the White House said in a statement.

Washington and Moscow are working toward a peace conference in Geneva aiming to end the violence in Syria.

Obama also reaffirmed his desire to strengthen the bilateral relationship, including economic ties with Russia, and said he looked forward to meeting with President Vladimir Putin in June when they both attend the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, the National Security Council said.

The United States and Russia have agreed to sponsor a conference in Geneva earlier this or next month, to explore ways to end the 27-month conflict by bringing to the table the Syrian government and the opposition.

The United Nations said the conflict has killed some 80,000 people.

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