Putin, Obama Hold Constructive, Frank Talks on Syria, Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama held constructive and frank talks during a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York on Monday.
This constituted their first face-to-face meeting in nearly a year, the two presidents having last met at the APEC summit in China in November 2014.
Putin identified the talks as “very constructive, businesslike and frank”, with US officials largely repeating his words and saying that half of the meeting was spent on Syria and the other half on Ukraine, the New York Times informs.
However it seems that Russia and the US continue to be divided over the extent to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be involved in the search for solution to the crisis.
Prior to their meeting, each of the two presidents delivered a speech before the UN General Assembly.
During his speech, Putin called for forming a broad coalition against IS with the inclusion of the legitimate Syrian government and army, while the US insists on the ousting of Assad.
The meeting between the two leaders came amid US fears that Russia is reportedly building up its military presence in Syria and is preparing for launching unilateral airstrikes against IS.
Obama said that the US has readiness to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the crisis.
The US President called for “managed transition” in Syria in which Assad will be gradually deprived of power.
Obama made it clear that there should be no return to the pre-war status quo, especially after so much carnage and bloodshed.
At his first appearance before the UN General Assembly in ten years, Putin openly criticised the US interventions in the Middle East.
The Russian President pointed that the deposition of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya has turned the two countries into havens for terrorists.
Putin hurled criticism to the administration of Obama in particular for its efforts on training and arming the Syrian opposition which has resulted in the surge in the number of Islamic radicals.
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