Putin: Syrian people must decide their leadership

AP News
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Posted: Jun 19, 2012 8:22 PM
Putin: Syrian people must decide their leadership

LOS CABOS, Mexico (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says only the Syrian people have the right to decide whether their president Bashar Assad steps down.

Putin said Tuesday that not all Syrians want a change in leadership and that all parties need to negotiate a solution to end the bloodshed.

Speaking at the Group of 20, the world's largest economies, Putin publicly confirmed the joint US-Russia statement issued Monday.

Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed Monday that Syrians should choose their own next government, marking a subtle shift for both the U.S. and Russia as they confront the prospect that Russia's main ally in the Mideast could slide into civil war.

Putin said he wants to avoid a situation like Libya and other North African countries, where violence continues despite regime changes.