Obama, Putin hold coffee-table talks at G20

US, Russian presidents have held informal talks on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Turkey's Antalya

Obama, Putin hold coffee-table talks at G20

World Bulletin / News Desk

US President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin of Russia huddled Sunday for a coffee-table summit, breaking the ice for the first time since Moscow launched air bombardments in Syria.

Sitting in leather armchairs on opposite sides of a small table, the pair leaned forward in animated talks on the sidelines of a summit in Turkey's Mediterranean resort of Antalya, state television showed.

According to Russian news agencies, the pair met for 20 minutes.

The two heads of state held the summit in an unlikely venue, nearby a potted palm tree as other delegates wandered by and security agents partially obstructed the view of the television camera.

Obama, who was gesturing to reinforce his points, and Putin were flanked at the coffee table by White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice and another unidentified man, apparently a translator.

None of the content of the conversation was divulged to the journalists covering the summit.

Hours earlier, the former Cold War foes shook hands as they took places for a family photograph of the Group of 20 top world economies, a summit now dominated by the Paris bombing and shooting assault, which killed 129 people.

Relations between the two powers have deteriorated, in particular over Russia's backing for pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine and now anti-ISIL air bombardment in Syria.

Both leaders agreed on the need for UN-sponsored peace talks and a ceasefire to resolve years of war in Syria, a White House official said.

"President Obama and President Putin agreed on the need for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition, which would be preceded by UN-mediated negotiations between the Syrian opposition and regime as well a ceasefire," the official told reporters after the meeting. 

The two "held a constructive discussion" that lasted about 35 minutes, the official added, calling the need for a solution for Syria "an imperative made all the more urgent by the horrifying terrorist attacks in Paris." 

The official, who wished to remain anonymous, said Obama welcomed efforts by all nations to confront ISIL extremists in Syria amid Western suspicions that Russia's intervention is really aimed at propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A top Kremlin official said that while Moscow and Washington shared  "strategic objectives" to fight ISIL, divergences still existed.

"Differences on tactics still remain," Putin's foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov told reporters on the sidelines of the summit.

Obama also offered his "deep condolences for the loss of Russian life" in the bombing of a Metrojetpassenger flight in Egypt killing all 224 people on board in Russia's worst air disaster. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Kasım 2015, 10:59
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