Obama And Putin Come Face-To-Face WEEKS After Trump Wins Election
Barack Hussein Obama has always had a very strained relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is counting down the days until Donald Trump takes office.
Daily Mail reported that Obama and Putin came face-to-face for the first time since Trump was elected during an economic summit in Peru, where the two leaders had a very brief exchange. The two men were spotted off to the side together for a moment before they shook hands and took their seat for a roundtable to open the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima.
The White House said the conversation lasted for only four minutes, and that Obama encouraged Putin to uphold his country’s commitments under the Minsk deal aimed at ending the Ukraine conflict.
The White House and the Kremlin said that Obama and Putin agreed that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov should keep working throughout Obama’s final weeks in office on initiatives to lower violence in Syria and alleviate suffering.
This came after reports came in that the U.S.’s relationship with Russia may be less antagonistic with Trump in office. Putin reportedly called Trump personally to offer him his congratulations immediately after he won the election. The Kremlin said Putin also expressed to Trump a readiness for a “partner-like dialogue” during their conversation.
“The President-elect confirmed he is willing to normalize Russian-American relations,” Putin said, according to Reuters. “I told him the same. We did not discuss where and when we would meet”
There is also speculation that Putin plans to contact Trump as soon as he takes office to get his agreement on bombing targets in Syria. The Russian ambassador to London, Alexander Yakovenko, said that Putin has repeatedly tried to convince Obama to agree to Russian pilots bombing rebel targets.
“Use of the air force in Syria is part of a diplomacy backed by force,” Yakovenko told the Sunday Mirror. “We have been trying to coordinate with this US Administration. We’ll continue doing so with the next one.”
Daily Mail reported:
Britain and the US wanted to impose ‘no fly zones’ above Aleppo to stop the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians on the ground by Russians planes targeting rebels in the east of the city.
After a three-week peace Russian and Syrian jets returned to the skies this week and killed at least 30 people – a mixture of rebels and civilians – and also targeted a children’s hospital.
Putin’s priority is maintaining in power the regime of President Bashar al-Assad who, along with his late father Hafez, have been long-term allies of Russia and the Soviet Union.
Trump’s priority is the destruction of ISIS and he is thought to be willing to offer a deal to Russia whereby Assad stays in power and the two superpowers cooperate on destroying ISIS’s stronghold in Raqqa, eastern Syria.
The Russians claimed that if they had not sent their jets in when they did ISIS and their allies would have taken over the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Mr Yakovenko said today: ‘The foreign terrorist organisations, proscribed by the UN, such as ISIS and “Nusra”, are the single most important factor that distorted the entire setup in Syria. In fact, the terrorists are leading the opposition militarily, including in east Aleppo.’
He said: ‘If they call the tune on the battlefield, they’ll do the same in Syria if they prevail. Our only strategy in Syria is to allow the Syrians to decide for themselves.’
Mr Yakovenko said Syrians who opposed Assad should ‘disengage from the terrorists’ and he assured them they would be offered places at the negotiating table in Geneva.
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