Obama, Putin huddle on Syria at G20 Summit

Obama, Putin huddle on Syria at G20 Summit
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President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Syria during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit on Sunday in Antalya, Turkey, an administration official said.


The official characterized the 35-minute meeting as “constructive,” saying the task of resolving the civil war in Syria has been made “all the more urgent” by the “horrifying terrorist attacks in Paris.”

The two leaders agreed on the need for a “Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition” preceded by U.N.-mediated negotiations and a ceasefire, the official said.

Obama noted the importance of Russia’s military efforts in Syria against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the official said.

Talks also turned to Ukraine, the official said, with Obama reiterating his support for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, including the withdrawal of heavy weapons from Ukraine, the removal of all foreign fighters, the release of hostages and the return of the Ukrainian side of the international border to Ukrainian government control.

Finally, Obama offered his condolences to Putin for the loss of Russian life stemming from last month's Metro Jet crash, the official said.

Obama met later in the day with King Salman bin Abd al Aziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

The two leaders “committed to redouble efforts to defeat” ISIS, a White House official said, and discussed support for moderate Syrian opposition and how best to help the Iraqi government fight ISIS.

--This report was updated at 2:40 p.m.