G8:Leaders agree watered down deal on Syria
Leaders of the world's most powerful nations appeared to have papered over their differences on Syria to agree a joint position after fraught talks at the G8 summit.
It is set to fall short of calling for the removal of Bashar Assad because of Russian objections.
The joint stance - due to be formally published this afternoon - was thrashed out in a late-night showdown over dinner last night at the annual conference of leading industrial nations in Northern Ireland.
Those around the table included US president Barack Obama, Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian president Vladimir Putin, who has been a staunch critic of the West's approach to the situation.
It will revive hopes that a peace conference can be convened to pave the way for a political transition in the war-torn Middle Eastern state.
Mr Cameron put Syria top of the agenda at last night's summit dinner with the aim of restoring momentum towards the proposed meeting in Geneva.
There had been suggestions that the other seven G8 countries could go ahead with a statement with or without Russian agreement.
But Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov announced that a joint deal had been agreed.
He signalled that it would not specify that Assad should step down from power and that no outcome should be declared in advance for how any transitional government wold be made up.