Putin and Obama focus on Assad's future during UN meeting

Both US President Obama and Russian leader Putin agree on diplomatic solution to end Syrian crisis, however Bashar al Assad's future still the main question for both leaders during UN General Assembly meeting

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama during UN General Assembly meeting

President of the United States Barack Obama and his counterpart Russian leader Vladimir Putin spoke with one another during 70th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting in New York on Monday regarding the possible diplomatic solutions to end the conflict in Syria conflict, as well as over the annexation of Crimea by Russian forces last year.

Before the meeting was held, Barack Obama had declared that he would speak with Putin during the UNGA in New York. However, he said that the main topic of their meeting would be Ukraine, not Syria.

Obama said that Moscow's annexation of Crimea had left the country more isolated and poorer, with ever-greater numbers of Russians emigrating abroad.

"Imagine if instead, Russia had engaged in true diplomacy,"

For his part, Putin said that the U.S was responsible for the instability in the Middle East.

Putin said the US-led invasion of Iraq and the Western-backed rebellion in Libya had contributed to "violence, poverty and a social disaster" across the region and huge refugee flows into Europe.

Putin and Obama clashed over the Syrian crisis and its possible solution.

Putin said. "No one but Assad's forces are truly fighting IS and other terrorist groups in Syria," while Obama said there can be no return to the pre-civil war status quo.

Both Russia and the United States agreed on the need to end the Syrian civil war with a diplomatic solution, a senior US official speaking on condition of anonymity said after the meeting.

 "The Russians certainly understood the importance of there being a political resolution to the conflict in Syria, and there being a process that pursues a political resolution," the US official said.

President Barack Obama declared that the US is ready to cooperate with Russia and Iran to end the four year civil war in Syria that has so far resulted in more than 240,000 deaths.

"The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict," Obama said

’’But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo," he added.

In contrast, Putin tried to include Bashar Assad for the possible solution to end Syrian civil war by calling broader international anti-terrorist coaltion against ISIS.

Obama rejected the argument that authoritarianism is the only way to counter groups such as ISIS.

He said, "In accordance with this logic, we should support tyrants like Bashar al-Assad, who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children, because the alternative is surely worse."

Both Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and French President Francois Hollande rejected the possibility of allowing Assad to stay in power.

Secretary of State John Kerry hosted talks with the foreign ministers of Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to discuss Syria.

Spokesman John Kirby said that they "discussed ideas for building renewed and credible diplomatic momentum that could bring an end to the conflict and allow Syrians to chart a peaceful future without Assad."

TRTWorld and agencies