World leaders convened for this year’s G20 summit, during which one of the main topic of discussion was the ongoing conflict in Israel’s northern neighbor, Syria. US President Barack Obama met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the side-lines of the summit, after which he noted that even though gaps remain, both Moscow and Washington would continue to work to implement a real cessation of hostilities that would allow all actors to focus on common enemies, including the Islamic State and the Al-Qaeda linked Nusra Front. “We have had some productive conversations about what a real cessation of hostilities would look like that would allow us of both the United States and Russia to focus our attention on common enemies like ISIL and NUSRA. But given the gaps of trust that exist, that’s a tough negotiation, and we haven’t yet closed the gaps in a way where we think it would actually work. But my instructions to Secretary Kerry and Mr. Putin’s instructions to Mr. Lavrov was to keep working at it over the next several days,” said Obama.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he and his American counterpart has taken another step forward when it came to helping resolve the Syria crisis. Putin noted that he felt that he and Obama understood each other and the challenges the world faced in Syria, while stressing that economic sanctions against Moscow must be removed if Washington seeks to improve relations with the Russian federation.
“I think we have reached mutual understanding and understanding of the problems that we are facing. But some technical details still need to be worked through. And in case (US Secretary of State John) Kerry and (Russian Foreign Minister Sergei) Lavrov manage to do that – we would make another step towards a settlement in Syria.” / “If they make steps to worsen our relations – what one can do? There are decisions in place, including the sanctions-related ones. If they want to resume relations – then these decisions should be canceled. That’s it. And it is secondary how, in which format it will be done,” said Putin.