Coldest Handshake Ever: Obama-Putin Brief Talks: Violence in Syria and Ukraine must end

10:22 Nov. 21, 2016

Obama-Putin Brief Talks: Violence in Syria and Ukraine must end

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the opening session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Lima, Peru, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016 (AP)

The two leaders meet for the first time since the shock results of US presidential election, and, probably, the last time when Obama is in office

US President Barack Obama used a last minute chance to once again personally call on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to end violence in Syria and Ukraine.

The two leaders met briefly on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit which is underway in Peru's capital, Lima.

They spoke for about four minutes in their first conversation since Donald Trump was elected the next US president. The quick talks could be their last meeting before Obama president leaves office in January.

A White House official said the US president urged Putin to honour Minsk peace agreement by working with France, Germany, Ukraine and the United States to halt the conflict in Donbas region of Ukraine.

"The president urged President Putin to uphold Russia's commitments under the Minsk agreements, underscoring the U.S. and our partners' commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty," the official said.

"On Syria, the president noted the need for Secretary [John] Kerry and Foreign Minister [Sergei] Lavrov to continue pursuing initiatives, together with the broader international community, to diminish the violence and alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people," the official added.


US President Barack Obama talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Kremlin foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov at the opening session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Lima, Peru, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo)

Obama later said at a news conference he told Putin the US is deeply concerned about bloodshed and chaos in Syria "sown by constant bombing attacks" by the Syrian and Russian militaries, and that a ceasefire and political transition were needed.

Read also US lawmakers want response to Russia's interference in election, actions in Ukraine and Syria

"As usual I was candid and courteous but very clear about the strong differences we have on policy," Obama said.

Putin said at a separate news conference he thanked Obama during Sunday's meeting in Lima "for the years of joint work".

"I told him that we would be happy to see him (Obama) in Russia anytime if he wants, can and has desire", Putin said.

Relations between Russia and the United States have plummeted to their lowest point since the cold war, largely because of Russia's aggression in Ukraine, and the military campaign in Syria.

Obama last met Putin at the G20 summit in China in September.

Based on reporting by Reuters 

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