Obama Plans ‘Extensive’ Talks on Syria With Japan’s Abe at G-20
President Barack Obama said the confrontation with Syria and Pacific trade talks will be the main topics in his meeting today with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Group of 20 nations summit.
The use of sarin gas by the Syrian regime is “a violation of international law that must be addressed,” Obama said before the start of talks with Abe in St. Petersburg, Russia. Abe said through a translator that Japan will support efforts to “improve the situation on the ground” in Syria.
Obama repeated that he wants to complete negotiations on a trans-Pacific trade agreement before the end of the year. Abe said his nation is ready to make “firm” decisions on the proposed accord.
The meeting was the first of three scheduled one-on-one talks for Obama on the sidelines of the G-20, where U.S. plans for a possible military strike are overshadowing discussions about the economy.
The U.S. president meets tomorrow with French President Francois Hollande and Chinese President Xi Jinping. While there are no plans for a formal meeting between Obama and G-20 host Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two will have the chance for “interactions” on the sidelines, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters en route to St. Petersburg from Stockholm, Sweden today.
The U.S. president’s meeting with Abe follows a Sept. 2 telephone call in which they discussed Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack of Aug. 21 on civilians. Abe also visited Obama at the White House in February.
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