US President Barack Obama rejects calls by global leaders to abandon his plan to launch a military strike on Syria during the Group of 20 summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Obama who is scheduled to leave Saint Petersburg for Washington on Friday night is holding a final day of meetings with deeply-divided world leaders in the historic Russian city in a bid to win their support for the controversial move. "There has been a long discussion with a clear split in the group," Reuters quoted a G20 source as saying after a working dinner in a Tsarist-era palace at the end of the first day of the summit. Japanese authorities also said the conversations over Syria crisis included "exchange of frank opinions" that is usually a diplomatic code for tense diplomatic discussions and a euphemism for strong disagreement on an issue. The Reuters news agency described Obama as “isolated” regarding his case on Syria despite the presence of its allies including France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The US president seemed to be at odds mostly with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping whose countries have openly expressed their strong opposition to any military action against the Arab nation. "Although there will continue to be some significant disagreements and sources of tension, I am confident that they can be managed," Obama said referring to the Syrian crisis before a meeting with Mr. Xi on Friday. The US president’s insistence on its stance regarding Syria also comes as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon voiced his opposition to an "ill-considered" attack on Syria, which he insisted could worsen the situation in the country. The UN secretary general warned against "further militarization of the conflict" during a humanitarian meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Friday. He added that possible military strikes on the country "could lead to serious and tragic consequences."