LOUGH ERNE, Northern Ireland, June 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday played down assertions that, regarding how to deal with the Syria conflict, he alone was opposing all other leaders of the Group of Eight powerful economies in talks this week in Northern Ireland.
When asked by a reporter whether he felt “lonely,” Putin said: “No, that’s absolutely not true. It was a general discussion, someone was agreeing and others were arguing. But Russia was never left to defend its approach to the Syrian problem on its own.”
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said ahead of the two-day summit, which kicked off Monday, that Russia was de-facto going against all the other members of the group.
“I don’t think we should fool ourselves. This is G7 plus one,” he said Sunday in comments carried by Canadian news site CBC.ca.
Harper cited Syria as a prime example, saying that Russia, unlike the rest of the G8, was backing “thugs” of authoritarian Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is embroiled in a civil war with a powerful insurgency comprising armed Islamists and secular opposition forces.
Putin and Harper “sorted out the misunderstandings” over Russia’s role in the G8 at a personal meeting during the summit, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Tuesday. He did not elaborate.