Presidents of United States and Russia discuss renewed fighting in Syria and agree to continue cooperation during phone call
The US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday agreed to continue establishing closer coordination on Syria and discussed the renewed fighting in the country, the White House announced.
The two leaders committed to intensifying their efforts to shore up the cessation of hostilities and affirmed the need to end attacks by all parties and ensure humanitarian access to all besieged areas, said White House spokesman John Earnest.
''It's an opportunity for the president (President Obama) to, once again, make the case to President Putin that he should use his influence with the Assad regime to live up to the commitments that they've made in the context of the cessation of hostilities," said Earnest to the reporters.
"Unfortunately, we've seen that the cessation of hostilities continues to be fragile and increasingly threatened due to continued violations by the regime," he said.
"And this was the subject of what I think you could accurately describe as an intense conversation."
During the call, Obama stressed the importance of pressing Bashar al Assad to halt its offensive attacks against the moderate opposition, as Putin said the moderate opposition needs to distance itself swiftly away from DAESH terrorists.
The phone call between Obama and Putin took place hours after the Syrian peace talks came close to collapse on Monday, with the mainstream opposition announcing a pause in talks being held in Geneva.
The crisis in eastern Ukraine was also on the agenda during the phone call, said the White House spokesman.
Earnest said Obama urged Putin to take steps to end the significant uptick in fighting in eastern Ukraine and stressed the importance of moving forward with full implementation of commitments.
When asked if President Obama raised the issue of the buzzing of the US warship in the Baltic earlier last week, Earnest said the two leaders did not talk about it.
"I asked this specific question and that did not come up in the call between the two Presidents," said Earnest.
"As I mentioned yesterday, those kinds of activities are destabilising, a source of some concern, but they're not particularly unusual."