PMQs: David Cameron to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in bid to break international deadlock on Syria

Putin appeared to offer some hope that Russian support for the Assad regime might not be open ended

David Cameron is to hold talks in Downing Street with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid evidence that his support for the Syrian regime maybe softening.

Mr Cameron will meet President Putin on Sunday ahead of the G8 conference in Northern Ireland. It will be the second time in just two months that the men have held face to face talks amid what Downing Street sources said was “intense diplomatic activity” behind the scenes on Syria.

Mr Cameron is also expected to discuss with US President Barack Obama ahead of the G8 where the issue will be on the formal agenda.

While the Foreign Office is still pessimistic about the possibility of peace talks taking place in the near future they hope that pressure from Russia could force Syrian President Bashar al Assad to the table.

Earlier this week Mr Putin appeared to offer some hope that Russian support for the Assad regime might not be open ended.

Speaking during a visit to the Kremlin-funded English Language TV Channel RT he said the Russians were “not advocates for the current government and the current president."

He added that the Assad regime had failed to make the changes it needed to in the light of protests which soon escalated into the current conflict.

"The country was ripe for serious changes, and the leadership should have felt that in time and started making changes. Then what is happening would not have happened," he said.

Mr Putin added that Russia was concerned for the future of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria and that harmony must come from agreements among the factions.

"Not the other way around - kick everybody out and then plunge the whole country into chaos.”

A Foreign Office source said that Mr Putin’s comments were significant.

“Putin does not say things like that by accident,” they said.

“This is an interesting piece of public pressure on the Assad regime.”

In the House of Commons Mr Cameron said he would be using the meeting and the G8 to try and build an international consensus on Syria. 

“We should use the G8 to try and bring pressure on all sides to bring about what we all want, which is a peace conference, a peace process and a move towards a transitional government in Syria,” he said.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said Mr Cameron would be seeking to continue the dialogue he opened with Mr Putin when they met last month in Sochi.

“I don't think it is new to say that we have differences with the Russians with regard to Syria," the spokesman said.

“However we want to keep working on how we can crank up the pressure here. That is what the meeting on Sunday is very much about. It is about cranking up the pressure on all sides in the conflict in Syria.”

Foreign Secretary William Hague, meanwhile, was in Washington for talks on the Syrian conflict with US secretary of state John Kerry.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Magento Front End Web Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

Investigo: management accountant

£250 - £300 per day: Investigo: Growing international marketing business requi...

Recruitment Genius: ORM / Online Reputational Consultant

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ORM Consultant is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of educat...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore