During a sideline discussion at the Group of 20 summit in the Turkish city of Antalya Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed a ceasefire is needed to help resolve conflict in Syria. The two leaders were in accord that a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition was required and should be facilitated by the United Nations, a White House official told reporters. The comments echoed remarks made after a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Vienna Saturday.
The Obama-Putin discussion lasted about 35 minutes. The need for continued peace efforts in Syria was made all the more palpable by the terrorist attacks in Paris Friday, which killed at least 129 people. The Islamic State group, formerly known as either ISIL or ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attacks in France. In his talks with Putin, Obama stressed Russia’s importance in fighting the militant group in Syria.
“As the diplomacy continues, President Obama welcomed efforts by all nations to confront the terrorist group ISIL and noted the importance of Russia’s military efforts in Syria focusing on the group,” the White House official said.
The Paris attacks overshadowed the G-20 summit, reminding the leaders there of the long reach of the Islamic State group, CBS News reported. Driving home the reminder was a suicide bomber who wounded five Turkish police officers Sunday when he detonated an explosive device during a raid on a suspected Islamic State hideout in Turkey close to its border with Syria.
A U.S.-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria since September of last year, as Reuters indicated. And Russia has been conducting similar strikes against rebels in the same country since October of this year.
Obama said at the G-20 summit he would focus on efforts to fight the Islamic State group in Syria. Other leaders also have called for increased actions to eliminate the terrorist group.
Spotted! An honest-to-goodness Obama-Putin huddle at the G20. pic.twitter.com/Q0jkxfJvWi
— Michelle Kosinski (@MKosinskiCNN) November 15, 2015
“We will redouble our efforts, working with other members of the coalition, to bring about a peaceful transition in Syria and to eliminate Daesh as a force that can create so much pain and suffering for people in Paris, in Ankara and in other parts of the globe,” Obama said, employing the word “Daesh” in referring to the Islamic State group.