U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin traded contrasting beliefs over Syrian civil war at the United Nations, as they urged for international cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist organization and its militant groups in Syria.
The 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York was marked by the dispute over the four year old civil war in Syria and the refugee crisis that has overtaken the European continent. World leaders disagreed on the approach of fighting terrorism in the regions with Obama proposing a diplomatic resolution of the war and a “managed transition” of the Syrian government.
According to Reuters, Barack Obama said that the United States are willing to cooperate with Russia and Iran in order to end the civil war in Syria, but reiterated that Bashar al-Assad must not remain in the government power. He stated “The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo. Realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out ISIL. But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader and an inclusive government that recognizes there must be an end to this chaos so the Syrian people can begin to rebuild.”
He also added that there is no room for terrorists like ISIS and that the United States is not sorry for using military force as part of a coalition that goes after it. He stated “When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of his own people, that is not just a matter of one nation’s internal affairs.”
On the other hand Putin said that there is no alternative to the cooperation with Assad and suggested a broad international anti-terrorist coalition. According to Reuters, he stated “We are mulling over what we would really do extra in order to support those who are in the battlefield, resisting and fighting with terrorists, ISIS (Islamic State) first of all. There is an opportunity to work on joint problems together.”
He also added that there is no other option than to cooperate with Assad and stated “We think it’s an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism face-to-face. We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and the Kurdish militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria.”
The United States and Russia have been in cold relations after the 2014 Moscow annexation of Crimea in Ukraine and Putin’s backing of the Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine that resulted in many armed conflicts. Also, Putin has been building the Russian force in Syria with deploying tanks and war jets and has cooperated with the Iraqi, Syrian and Iranian government in backing and arming the Syrian government and helping Assad to combat rebels that want to end his four decade rule.
French and Turkish Presidents have also spoken in front of the U.N. Assembly and supported Obama in wanting a diplomatic solution and talk, but noted that Putin must understand that Tehran and Moscow must give up of Assad.