“Today’s meeting was very constructive, practical and surprisingly frank,” the Russian President told the press. “We found a lot of common ground, but there are differences as well. In fact they are known, so there is no need to repeat them.”
Putin admitted that relations between Moscow and Washington are at a rather low level at the moment, but stated that it was not on Russia’s initiative that ties with the US had been torn, but was instead the result of its “American partners’ position.”
While Obama did not talk to the press following the meeting, a US official confirmed to Reuters that the presidents agreed to explore options for a political solution in Syria, with disagreements remaining over the future of President Bashar Assad. Political talks will continue between US and Russian foreign ministers, while the Pentagon would arrange the military-to-military talks, the official added.
In his address to the General Assembly, Putin reiterated that Damascus’ government remains a legitimate power in Syria while the national army is the only armed force legally fighting terrorism in Syria. Russia’s president again proposed the joining of efforts and the creation of a broad international coalition against terrorism, which would coordinate its efforts with Damascus.
“We do not rule out anything. But if we do something, we will do it in full accordance with the norms of international law,”Putin said, answering the question as to whether the Russian military is planning to conduct anti-ISIS airstrikes in Syria. “We talked about this today: Military jets from Australia, France, the US, are carrying out airstrikes not only in Iraq – where it is justified under international law, since there had been a request from the Iraqi government – in the case of Syrian territory it is illegal, and we spoke about it too.”
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