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.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Arts and Entertainment
film
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

Java Developer - web services, XML and API

£330 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Lond...

Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to teach Furthe...

Primary teachers required for schools in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...

Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

£18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style