VLADIVOSTOK, Russia -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin here Saturday to do more to end the bloodshed in Syria.
Russia has blocked three United Nations Security Council sanctions designed to pressure Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to end attacks by his forces that have killed more than 20,000 people over the last 18 moths.
As recently as Friday, Putin said in a television interview that the West is wrong on Syria and argued that countries like Canada should re-evaluate their position.
"Obviously, the government of Russia and ourselves have very different perspectives on this," Harper told reporters here after his 50-minute closed-door meeting with the Russian leader. "Our view is pretty clear that as long as Assad remains in power practicing the brutality against his citizens, the situation there is going to become more and more desperate and more and more chaotic for everybody. That's why he needs to go. The longer he stays the worse it's going to be.
"Obviously, Mr. Putin has a different perspective but I urged Russia to play a more positive role than it's been playing."
Harper is in Vladivostok this weekend attending the annual summit of Pacific nation leaders, which officially got underway Saturday afternoon.
In their meeting ahead of the summit, Harper also urged Putin to use Russia's influence with Iran to get the Middle Eastern nation to end its nuclear development program.
Canada announced Friday that it was closing its embassy in Iran and placing the country on its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
"Unfortunate but that's just the reality of the situation and our ultimate responsibility has to be two-fold: One, to protect our people but the other has to be to be able to speak out about the very grave threat that Iran represents to world peace and security," Harper said.