Syria tops agenda at pre-G8 videoconference
The conflict in Syria topped the agenda in a videoconference on Friday among G8 leaders ahead of their summit next week, and a day after the US stiffened its Syrian policy, the French presidency said.
US President Barack Obama and the leaders of France, Germany, Britain and Italy using a videolink had "an extensive exchange on the subject of the G8 (summit) and in particular on Syria," an aide to French President Francois Hollande said about the nearly hour-long talks.
The conference took place after the White House said it had concluded that Syria had crossed a US red line by using chemical weapons against rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
Officials said Washington would increase military support to rebels, which it is understood could also include the lethal assistance the United States has previously refused to provide.
Along with Obama and Hollande, the conference included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is hosting the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland on Monday and Tuesday.
US deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes described the session as the latest in a series of consultations that Obama has held with allies in the run-up to the summit.
© 2013 AFP