Syria Crisis Looms As Obama Arrives in Russia
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed President Barack Obama with a smile and a handshake to the Group of 20 summit, in one of the most closely watched greetings of international diplomacy.
The 15-second exchange at the entrance to St. Petersburg's splendid Constantine Palace drew widespread media attention as a potential telltale sign of relations between the United States and Russia.
Obama arrived this morning from Sweden, the first stop on his three-day overseas trip. The Stockholm stop was added after Obama canceled plans to hold talks ahead of the G-20 with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in retaliation for Russia granting asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
As Obama shook hands and smiled broadly, he thanked his host and nodded toward the palace pronouncing it, quote, "beautiful.''
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters at the summit she is doubtful that world leaders can agree on what to do about Syria's civil war.
Merkel said disagreement is over who was responsible for the poison gas attack last month, saying, "`I do not believe yet that we will reach a joint position.''
The United States and France are trying to rally international support for a possible military intervention against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime over the chemical attack. Merkel insisted that Germany wouldn't get involved militarily, but could provide humanitarian aid and political support.
Summit host Putin supports Syria's government and opposes intervention.