Political solution needed in Syria: Trump, Putin - Saudi Gazette

Political solution needed in Syria: Trump, Putin

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US President Donald Trump (L) chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on Saturday. — AFP

DANANG, Vietnam — US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met briefly on the sidelines of a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Vietnam on Saturday and agreed on the need for a political solution to Syria’s conflict.

A joint statement on Syria followed their first meeting since July.

Their statement called for a political solution to Syria’s conflict and said they would continue joint efforts to fight Islamic State. Trump said it would save “tremendous numbers of lives”.

“The presidents agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria,” the statement said, adding that the two sides “confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS (Daesh).”

The statement also added that the two sides had agreed to keep military channels open to avoid potential clashes over Syria and urged the warring sides to participate in UN-led peace talks in Geneva.

The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the Kremlin announcement or the conversation the Kremlin said took place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese resort of Danang.

The Kremlin said the statement on Syria was coordinated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson especially for the meeting in Danang.

They confirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and called on all parties to the Syrian conflict to take an active part in the Geneva political process, it said.

“We did it very quickly,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One after leaving the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the resort of Danang for Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. “We seem to have a very good feeling for each other, a good relationship considering we don’t know each other well.”

Talking after their meeting, Putin described Trump as “a well-mannered person and comfortable to deal with”.

“We know each other little, but the US president is highly civil in his behavior, friendly. We have a normal dialogue but unfortunately little time,” he said.

Scheduling and unspecified protocol issues were to blame for the fact that a mooted sit-down meeting did not happen in Danang, he said.

Trump said they had two or three very short conversations.

They were seen chatting amicably as they walked to the position where the traditional APEC summit photo was being taken at a viewpoint looking over the South China Sea.

Pictures from the APEC meeting also showed Trump walking up to Putin as he sat at the summit table and patting him on the back. They also shook hands at the summit dinner on Friday evening.

The Kremlin had sought a one-on-one meeting ahead of the summit. Although the White House had said no official meeting was planned, it had also said it was possible they would bump into each other. — Agencies


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