Obama, Medvedev discuss Iran, Afghanistan, Syria

HONOLULU Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:25pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the APEC Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii November 12, 2011.          REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the APEC Summit in Honolulu, Hawaii November 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

HONOLULU (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev discussed Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, among other topics, in their meeting on Saturday.

Obama said he and Medvedev "reaffirmed our intention to work and shape a common response so we can move Iran to follow its international obligations when it comes to its nuclear program."

Russia's government has been cool to any new U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran. On Tuesday, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report Tehran had worked on developing a nuclear bomb design and may still be conducting such research.

Obama gave no details about the discussion on Syria. On Afghanistan, he said they discussed the importance of regional powers supporting the government in Kabul.

In the meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Medvedev said there was a large gap between Washington and Moscow's positions on U.S. plans for a missile defense system based in Europe.

"We have agreed to continue the search of possible solutions, with the understanding of the fact that our positions still remain far apart," Medvedev told reporters.

Obama congratulated Russia on its move toward membership in the World Trade Organization, which it is expected to join next month. Medvedev was effusive in his thanks for what he called Obama's "active and engaged" support for Russia's WTO bid.

"We have not been offered such support by the (previous) U.S. administrations before," he said in remarks translated from Russian. "And maybe this is the reason why it took us since 1993 to join this organization."

(Reporting by Laura MacInnis, Alexei Anishchuk and Caren Bohan; Editing by John O'Callaghan)