President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama once again highlighted the difficulty of solving the Syrian crisis.
“We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and (Kurdish) militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organisations in Syria“.
“Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social division,” he said.
Putin rejected this view, arguing that the IS group sprang out of the chaos left behind after US-backed forces ousted Saddam Hussein from Iraq and Moamer Kadhafi of Libya.
During his speech, Putin called for forming a broad coalition against IS with the inclusion of the legitimate Syrian government and army, while the U.S. insists on the ousting of Assad.
Yahoo News reports that Obama urges a political transition in the Syrian government, and in his United Nations address, he said, “We must recognize that there can not be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo“.
During the press conference, Putin also said he and Obama meet “quite often”, even if it’s not mentioned on the news.
The two men also agreed to explore options for a political solution in Syria, but disagreed on the future role of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS Obama addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York.
Moscow and Washington have been at odds, often sparring, since the civil war began in Syria in 2011 and the Ukraine crisis escalated into violence in the late winter of 2014.
“We can not stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation is flagrantly violated”, Obama told the General Assembly.
“President Putin has said that the increase in military resources is in Syria for that goal, for the objective of assisting in the deterring and defeating of this brutal terrorist organisation, and we have to welcome that”.
The US sees Assad as continuing to fan the flames of the sectarian conflict there, the official said.
Obama, however, had harsh words of his own.
On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed that Russia was engaged in coordination efforts with Iraq, Syria, and Iran to more effectively combat IS forces in the Middle East.
“Tens of thousands of militants are fighting under the banners of the so-called Islamic State, and their ranks include former Iraqi servicemen,” he said.
President Obama met Monday with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin at a time when tensions between the United States and Russian Federation are the highest they’ve been since the end of the cold war.
“This is not about Russia’s ambitions but about the recognition of the fact that we can no longer tolerate the urgent state of affairs in the world,” he said.