Obama, Putin meet privately to discuss Syria

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - President Barack Obama met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the midst of their dispute over how to respond to chemical weapons use in Syria.

Putin told reporters they spoke for 20 or 30 minutes Friday and focused on Syria. The Russian president says while they disagreed, the meeting was constructive.

Obama insists the Syrian government is responsible for chemical weapons attacks against civilians and is pushing for the United States to respond with a military strike. But Putin says there's no firm evidence of that and opposes any action outside the United Nations.

Obama says he's encouraged by the discussions he's had with world leaders about the situation in Syria.

He says there is a growing recognition that the world "cannot stand idly by" after a deadly chemical weapons attack he says was carried out by the regime in Syria.

Obama says leaders from Europe, Asia and the Middle East agree with him that international norms against the use of chemical weapons must be upheld.

Obama spoke at a news conference Friday in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the close of an international economic summit.

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