G8 Agrees on Plan for Syrian Peace Talks

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) talks with Britain's PM David Cameron during a working session at the Lough Erne golf resort where the G8 summit is taking place in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 18, 2013.
Leaders from the Group of Eight major economic powers have issued a joint plan on Syria that calls for an end to the bloodshed and peace talks as soon as possible, but fails to mention whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should step down.

Tuesday's G-8 declaration said participants in any peace talks must agree to expel al-Qaida-linked fighters from Syria. It also committed a further $1.5 billion in aid for Syrian refugees. It condemned human rights abuses committed by government forces and rebels alike.

The summit meeting’s host, British Prime Minister David Cameron, said the seven-point plan endorses a process that would establish a transitional governing body in Syria with full executive powers formed by mutual consent from the country's major groups.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow and Washington will craft the framework for the peace talks on Syria. But a Western diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said the proposed international peace conference is unlikely to be held before August.

In a television interview with PBS broadcast late Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of a potential no-fly zone over Syria.

The White House has not completely ruled out a no-fly zone as a tool to help bring an end to the Syrian conflict. Syrian ally Russia says it would not permit enforced restrictions of Syrian airspace.

U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder told Reuters that neither the alliance nor the United States is considering a no-fly zone over Syria at this time.