Obama's advisers were pressing Congress in closed-door meetings for authorization of a military strike on Syria. The president arrived at the G-20 summit to surely face similar questions and skepticism from other world leaders. That includes the event's host, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The European Union urged U.N. investigators to release information as soon as possible about a chemical weapons attack in Syria so the international community can decide how to respond. EU President Herman Van Rompuy told reporters in St. Petersburg that the Aug. 21 attack "was a blatant violation of international law and a crime against humanity." He said it is too early for a military response,
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, warned a U.S. strike on Syria's atomic facilities might result in a nuclear catastrophe urged the U.N.'s nuclear agency to present a risk analysis of such a scenario. Gill Tudor, spokeswoman for the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, said the IAEA is ready to "consider the questions raised" by Lukashevich if it receives a formal request from Moscow. Russia's Interfax news agency said that Moscow plans to raise the issue at next week's 35-nation IAEA board meeting.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she doubts world leaders can agree on what to do about Syria's civil war despite frenzied diplomatic efforts following a chemical weapons attack. Merkel told reporters at the G-20 summit that because of disagreement over who was responsible for the poison gas attack last month, "I do not believe yet that we will reach a joint position."
Pope Francis urged world leaders to abandon the "futile pursuit" of a military solution in Syria and work instead for dialogue and negotiation to end the conflict. In a letter to Putin, hosting the G-20 summit, the pope lamented that "one-sided interests" had prevailed in Syria. He said those interests have prevented a peaceful solution and allowed the continued "senseless massacre" of innocents.