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Obama and Putin: Awkward moments, few breakthroughs

NEW YORK — U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initial grave assembly in some-more than dual years started with an ungainly handshake and finished though a breakthrough on Syria, a predicament that has stretched their already moving relationship.

On a biggest emanate that divides them in Syria — a station of embattled personality Bashar Assad — Obama and Putin left their discussions Monday accurately where they started. The U.S. still insists Syria’s destiny can't embody Assad, while Putin appears to usually wish to accelerate a station of his longtime ally, casting him as a best invulnerability opposite Islamic States militants.

Even so, both leaders seemed meddlesome in either their assembly on a sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly could produce swell toward finale Syria’s 4½ year polite war. After a 90-minute sit-down during U.N. headquarters, Putin and U.S. officials who described a assembly on Obama’s interest any spoke of a need for cooperation.

“Strange is it competence seem, there were many common points,” Putin told reporters. “There were also disagreements that we concluded to work together. we wish this work will be constructive.”

U.S. officials pronounced a leaders concluded to try ways to pursue a fortitude to a predicament that has left some-more than 250,000 dead, even as they done transparent Obama wasn’t tortuous on his insistence that Assad not be partial of a contingent solution.

Monday’s assembly noted another section in Obama’s and Putin’s story of colorful and moving encounters. They laid a grounds for a assembly in dueling speeches during a U.N., and afterwards were forced to lay together during lunch, exchanging steely glances as they clinked champagne eyeglasses during a toast. They seemed fast before reporters before commencement their talks, fast jolt hands, though creation no remarks.

That a leaders met during all underscored Obama’s acceptance of Russia’s increasingly distinguished purpose in solution a predicament in Syria. The U.S. boss has resisted extenuation Putin a legitimacy of a grave shared assembly following a Russian president’s provocations in Ukraine. But White House officials distributed that it was value tortuous on that front for a event to consider Putin’s Syria motivations in person.

The assembly also highlighted Putin’s ability to authority courtesy and change it divided from a Ukraine. A frail assent devise in a former Soviet commonwealth stays unsure during best, nonetheless a predicament was mostly a footnote during a U.N. gathering.

Instead, courtesy was riveted on what Putin would contend about Syria and Assad as he arrived in New York for his initial U.N. assembly in a decade. In a weeks heading adult to his arrival, Putin ratcheted adult his country’s troops participation in Syria and struck an intelligence-sharing agreement with Iran, Syria and Iraq, another republic fighting a Islamic State.

Both developments held U.S. officials off guard.

Putin also changed quickly to try to gain on a disaster of U.S. efforts to sight and supply assuage Syrian rebels — a $500 million Pentagon module that was ostensible to produce some-more than 5,000 fighters though instead usually has usually a handful of active graduates. The Russian personality jabbed Obama over a program’s failures in his remarks to a U.N. General Assembly on Monday.

The tellurian landscape looks distant opposite than what some in a Obama administration envisioned progressing this year.

Fresh off a success of Iranian chief negotiations that resulted in a singular fixing among Russia, China and a West, some U.S. officials wondered either that partnership could offer as a indication for rebellious other crises, including Syria. Officials also suggested there was reason to be confident that Putin was flourishing desirous with Assad.

Obama even suggested that probability in a Jul speak with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

“I was speedy by a fact that Mr. Putin called me a integrate of weeks ago and instituted a call to speak about Syria,” Obama pronounced after a phone call with Putin. “I consider they get a clarity that a Assad regime is losing a hold over larger and larger swaths of domain inside of Syria and that a prospects for a takeover or subjection of a Syrian regime is not approaching though becomes a larger and larger hazard by a day.”

“That offers us an event to have a critical review with them,” Obama added.

Privately, some U.S. officials contend they still trust Putin is prone to concur with a U.S. to palliate Assad from power. They’ve lifted a awaiting that Putin’s increasing troops footprint in Syria isn’t only to column adult Assad, though maybe also to curry preference with whoever competence reinstate him.

But after Obama and Putin’s latest encounter, reckoning out who competence reinstate Assad — or either there will be a energy send during all — still seems like a vital challenge.


AP author Vladimir Isachenkov contributed to this report.


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