Debate continues over possible Syria action - New York News

Debate continues over possible Syria action

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U.S. President Barack Obama, right, reaches out to shake hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during arrivals for the G-20 summit at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) U.S. President Barack Obama, right, reaches out to shake hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during arrivals for the G-20 summit at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) -- If there are any additional talks between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Russia, they'll be private ones.

Obama and Putin shook hands, smiled and made small talk about the scenery today as Obama arrived at St. Petersburg's Constantine Palace. It was their only planned one-on-one appearance. But they could talk again on the sidelines of the summit, including tonight at a leaders' dinner where Syria is expected to be discussed.

Syria is once source of the renewed tensions between Washington and Moscow, as Russia stands by its ally Bashar Assad and blocks U.N. action against Syria in the aftermath of last month's chemical weapons attack. The U.S. was also angered by Russia's decision to grant asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

And tomorrow, Obama will call attention to another area of disagreement, when he meets in St. Petersburg with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists. A new Russian law banning gay propaganda has caused concern about the country's role as host of the Winter Olympics in February.

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