Obama, Putin Discuss Syria, Ukraine on Sidelines of G-20 Summit
U.S. President Barack Obama urged Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday to focus on fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and vowed to increase efforts to wipe out the jihadist militants and prevent moreacts of terrorism like the Paris attacks.
"We will redouble our efforts, working with other members of the coalition, to bring about a peaceful transition in Syria and to eliminate Daesh as a force that can create so much pain and suffering for people in Paris, in Ankara, and in other parts of the globe," Obama said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group, Reuters reported.
Obama and Putin held an informal meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey and agreed on the need for a Syrian-led transition including U.N.-mediated talks, the newswire quoted a White House official as saying.
The meeting of the presidents of the United States and Russia builds on progress achieved in Vienna where foreign ministers on Saturday outlined a plan for a political process in Syria leading to elections within two years.
Yet, differences remain over the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the U.S. demanding his removal from power and Russia standing firm behind its ally.
Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said that Putin and Obama discussed the situation in Syria and Ukraine “in detail”.
"The conversation centered round two topics - first about Syria, and then about Ukraine," Ushakov told journalists, adding that attention had been mostly focused on Syria, TASS reported.
Ushakov also said that while the two leaders “are very close in general” on the strategic goals of the fight against the Islamic State group, “there still are differences on tactics”, according to the Russian news agency.
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