UK and Russia put their differences aside on Syria

At a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to work together towards a transitional government in Syria.

Moscow has changed tack on the troubled nation, having supported President Bashar al-Assad’s government until recently.

Vladimir Putin said: “We have a mutual interest in putting an end to the violence and the start of a peace process and the persistence of Syria as a territorial unity and sovereign state.”

“At Mr Cameron’s initiative, we discussed possible scenarios for a positive development of that process and possible joint steps,” Putin continued.

Russia has been under intense pressure from Western countries over its stance on Syria since the bloody conflict began more than two years ago.

David Cameron said: “It’s no secret that we’ve had differing views on how best to handle the situation, but we share fundamental aims to end the conflict, to stop Syria fragmenting, to let the Syrian people choose who governs them and to prevent the growth of violent extremism.”

Russia’s foreign ministry announced that Moscow had no new plans to sell an advanced air defence system to Assad’s government, although it would fulfil contracts already concluded with Damascus.