U.S. President Barack Obama had a 90-minute meeting Monday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. However, two of the most powerful leaders in the world did not manage to come to an agreement on the future of their Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad.
Obama and Putin met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. While Putin called the meeting "constructive and business-likes," a senior U.S. official called it as “business-like back and forth.” According to the Russia president, the discussion with President Obama was "very constructive and surprisingly open."
"In my opinion there is a basis to work on shared problems together" but "disputes remain," Press TV quoted the Russian president as saying. "We have sound grounds to work on the points of concern together."
The U.S. official, on the other hand, said Obama and Putin had fundamental disagreements on Assad’s role in Syria. He said the Russians must have understood the importance of a political resolution in Syria and a process to pursue a political resolution. He, however, said the two countries had a difference about the outcome of the process.
The ABC asked a number of people about President Assad’s future. Syria refugee Mohammed Al Bakr said that Assad’s future has nothing to do with him. All he is concerned about is the safety of him and his children.
Syrian activist and photographer Mohammed Abdullah called Assad a “war criminal,” who has been supported by big countries. Syrian refugee Miriam Al Salloum said it is impossible for Assad to withdraw without any harm done against him. “Either he'll be killed or something else will happen,” she said.