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Obama Discusses Syria in Call With European Leaders Ahead of G-8

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with European leaders today about ending the conflict in Syria and promoting democracy in Libya, two issues topping the agenda for next week’s Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland.

Participating in the hour-long videoconference call were U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, and Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, according to a statement from Cameron’s office.

The leaders discussed how G-8 countries should work toward a political solution in Syria, where more than 93,000 people have been killed in a two-year civil war between President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition forces, according to the statement.

The U.S., U.K. and France are among G-8 members that have said Assad’s departure is essential to any political transition. Russia, another G-8 member, is a long-time ally of the Assad regime and one of the Syrian government’s top arms suppliers.

The G-8 is composed of leaders from the U.S., France, U.K., Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia. Leaders will gather June 17-18 at the Lough Erne resort in County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland to discuss topics that also include tax havens and trade proposals. Obama departs in the evening on June 16 and will travel to Germany after G-8 meetings.

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