“Russia’s decision to double down on Assad is a losing bet”, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, accusing Putin of propping up Syria’s embattled leader, Bashar al-Assad.
UN Ambassador Samantha Power says with problems in Syria because of ISIS and the Ukraine, the president sees an opportunity.
Obama ripped Putin’s meddling in Ukraine and Syria.
The US “provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern worldwide law and the United Nations charter”, Putin said. President Obama is scheduled to speak next.
Iran’s Rouhani, who entered the chamber smiling, appeared to align with Putin’s call for a UN Security Council resolution consolidating the fight against terror, while France plans to discuss a proposal by Turkey and members of the Syrian opposition for a no-fly zone in northern Syria.
“We must acknowledge that nobody other than President Assad’s armed forces are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organisations in Syria”, Mr Putin said.
Mr Cameron hopes to use the opportunity to “inject momentum” into finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict which has claimed 200,000 lives and displaced 11 million people.
Mr Obama told the annual UN session – which Mr Cameron has chosen not to address, drawing flak from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said: “The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russian Federation and Iran, to resolve the conflict”.
He said that his country will continue to work closely with the U.S.-led coalition that has been bombing the IS group in Syria and Iraq, saying Iraq needs “all the world’s intelligence efforts in order to fight, to besiege and to terminate Daesh”. He called for a “managed transition” that would result in the ouster of Assad, whose forces have clashed with rebels for more than four years, creating a vacuum for the Islamic State and other extremist groups.
Ahead of their talks, Obama said he was open to working with Russian Federation, as well as Iran, to bring Syria’s civil war to an end.
The Russian leader dismissed the West’s concerns about his country’s ambitions in Syria, “as if they have no ambitions at all”, and he called it “an enormous mistake to refuse to co-operate” with the Syrian government.
Asked by CBS News’ Charlie Rose whether part of Russia’s plan was to “rescue” Assad, Putin acknowledged this was true, but pointed to other destabilized countries in the region that fell into chaos after their governments were forcibly removed from power by the USA military and their North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. Putin smiled slightly as he and Obama clinked glasses.
The pair have not had a substantial face-to-face meeting since a bilateral get-together on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland in 2013, although they had a brief frosty encounter at the APEC meeting in Beijing past year.