Obama and Putin discuss Syria, Iran, Ukraine concerns

The leaders discussed the need for the Syrian regime to adhere to its commitment to eliminate its chemical weapons

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U.S. President Barack Obama telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday to talk about several global crises, including Syria's civil war, ongoing talks on Iran's nuclear program and violence in Ukraine, the White House said.

On Syria, the leaders discuseed future talks to find a political solution to the civil war, and the need for the Bashar al-Assad’s government “to adhere to its commitment to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons program,” the White House said in an official statement.

Damascus requested a 100-day extension to an end-May deadline for it to ship out the totality of its chemical arms.

“Concerns over the humanitarian crisis and the necessity of a strong U.N. Security Council resolution on the issue,” were also discussed, the statement added.

Fighting has killed more than 140,000 people - more than 7,000 of them children - according to the Britain-based, pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Syrian conflict, now almost in its third year, has hit all strata of Syrian society, including vulnerable groups such as the elderly and children.

It has led to one of the world’s most severe refugee crises, with millions of Syrians either internally displaced or hosted in neighboring states such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

(with Reuters)

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