Syria crisis: Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin meeting, differences remain
NEW YORK: Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin met Monday at the United Nations in the search for solutions to the chaos in Syria, without however register breakthroughs, particularly on the place to book Bashar al-Assad.
Following a meeting of about 90 minutes, which began with an icy handshake, the Russian president spoke of a meeting “constructive surprisingly open” with his US counterpart and discussed possible cooperation.
Vladimir Putin however highlighted real differences on how to end a war that has already killed more than 240,000 people.
Vladimir Putin has not ruled out the Russian strikes, but has instead ruled out sending ground combat troops to fight against the Islamic State (IS), rather emphasizing his desire “to further assist the Syrian army.”
Evidence of ongoing tensions with the West, the Kremlin leader did not resist the temptation to tackle Barack Obama and Francois Hollande: “I have the greatest respect for my American and French counterparts but they are not Syrians and therefore should not be involved in choosing leaders of another country.”
This first official meeting between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin for over two years was devoted to Syria for half and half to the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
Echoing the words of the Russian president, a US official described a “shared desire” to find responses to the war in Syria that caused unprecedented migration crisis. But found a real disagreement on the outcome of a possible political transition process.
According to the same source, both men stressed the need to communicate at the military level to avoid possible conflicts between them in the region.
A few hours earlier, they had displayed their disagreements openly to the UN rostrum, accusing each other of having contributed to the tensions in the region.